Aziz Ansari responds to sexual assault allegations and people have never been more divided
Aziz Ansari is among the powerful men in Hollywood who have been accused of sexual assault by a 23-year-old photographer.
Indian-American comedian and Golden Globe winner Aziz Ansari is the latest among the men of Hollywood to be accused of sexual misconduct. Aziz has now responded to the allegations leveled by a 23-year-old photographer, known only by the pseudonym Grace, who went on a date with the actor on September 25, 2017.
Grace wrote about her date night, which she describes as "the worst night" of her life, on the women's website Babe. In the post, the Brooklyn-based photographer says that although she enjoyed flirtatious conversations with the Master of None creator in the beginning of the night, it ended with her tearfully texting friends about the horrible date she had with Aziz.
In the article, she details how Aziz kept trying to push her boundaries even though she made her discomfort obvious. “I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested. I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored," she explains.
At some point during the night, he had also acknowledged that both of them need to be having fun, after she told him, “I said I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you."
Despite this, he had compelled her to go down on him and she went ahead with it even though she did not want to, because, "I think I just felt really pressured. It was literally the most unexpected thing I thought would happen at that moment because I told him I was uncomfortable.”
After the night was over, Grace reached out to Aziz to inform him that he was out of line and in the texts they exchanged, Aziz acknowledges that he may have missed certain signals from her because he was caught up in the moment.
This is the text Grace* sent Aziz Ansari after their date which left her feeling “violated”. She tells Ansari how uncomfortable he made her feel, saying “you ignored clear non-verbal cues” and “kept going with advances.”— babe (@babedotnet) January 14, 2018
Read the full story on https://t.co/FyMMG6uO1j. pic.twitter.com/lPOvW6tFTr
Grace has revealed that she felt compelled to reveal her story after the Golden Globes, where Aziz, clad in a black suit and a Time's Up pin, had accepted the award for best actor in a musical or comedy. “It was actually painful to watch him win and accept an award," revealed Grace, adding, “And absolutely cringe-worthy that he was wearing the Time’s Up pin.”
Since then, Aziz has issued a statement responding to the allegations, in which he has acknowledged the events that happened.
It reads as follows:
In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date. We went out to dinner and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual.
The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed OK’, upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem OK to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.
I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture ... It is necessary and long overdue.
The allegation against Aziz has divided the internet more binarily than any cases before him. Especially considering he is among the most "woke" comedians, who have spoken about topics of sexual harassment, feminism and equality, people find it hard to believe that he would be insensitive to a woman's clear indications of disinterest and discomfort. Meanwhile, others point out that "nice men" using their niceness to get their way is all too common in the dating world.
If that Aziz Ansari story is rape than everyone who has been on the modern dating scene has been both victim and perpetrator. You all said you didn't want courtship, you wanted sexual liberation. Welcome.— Inez Stepman (@InezFeltscher) January 14, 2018
That Aziz Ansari piece isn't surprising to me but it is difficult and heartbreaking because I've been there, many times because "nice" men thought they could use whatever kindness they had performed earlier to ignore my boundaries in intimate situations.— Lara Witt (@Femmefeministe) January 14, 2018
Someone said Aziz Ansari needs to lose his career... for goin on a date with a chick who blew him twice but didn’t like the experience so she said she was sexually assaulted. AGAIN, these sexual allegations are now a circus— Wild Wild Seth (@SpikeReeds) January 15, 2018
A lot of men will read that post about Aziz Ansari and see an everyday, reasonable sexual interaction. But part of what women are saying right now is that what the culture considers "normal" sexual encounters are not working for us, and oftentimes harmful.— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 14, 2018
I'm worried about women being conditioned to think of ourselves as inherent and hopeless victims. We're in a bad place when one person's recollection of a bad, regrettable sexual encounter can be characterized as sexual abuse, as would appear to be the case with Aziz Ansari.— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) January 14, 2018
I should be finishing my grad school application and writing sample. BUT, I need to write about Aziz Ansari. I'm getting tired of all the apologia, victim-blaming and using ambiguity to try and defend him from what he did. I will get flak for this, but I don't really care.— ✡️ Josh Shahryar ☪ (@JShahryar) January 14, 2018
If you’re looking for a #metoo story in which the accused man may deserve some benefit of the doubt, I think Aziz Ansari might be it— Rucka Rucka Ali (@iamRucka) January 15, 2018
Everyone is talking about Aziz Ansari like “we need to make women comfortable being explicit and concise and as specific as possible in saying no so that these well meaning men will understand.” I’m here to tell you: They already fucking understand. They just don’t care.— Dominique Matti (@mominiquematti) January 14, 2018
The Aziz Ansari stuff is a perfect demonstration of how rape culture works and how men are socialized to feel entitled to sex. No, there was no rape, but this thing where men pester women for sex and don't let up, even when it's clear she isn't into it, IS RAPE CULTURE.— Meghan Murphy (@MeghanEMurphy) January 15, 2018
My takeaway from this whole Aziz Ansari thing: it's disheartening that a productive movement condemning assault and harassment has deteriorated into an excuse to call out any aggressively horny asshole you've ever had an awkward encounter with.— Tiffany (@riptiff) January 14, 2018
I hope this Aziz Ansari story will help people realise what consensual sex actually looks like. You don't have to physically say the word 'no' to mean no.— Jemima Skelley (@jemimaskelley) January 14, 2018
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