Aziz Ansari Responds To Allegation Of Sexual Misconduct

Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual assault this weekend, and the conversation around the allegations has been heated, to say the least.

In an article on the website Babe headlined, “I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life,” a 23-year-old woman accused the comedian and actor of repeatedly trying to initiate sexual activity and ignoring her “clear non-verbal queues” that she didn’t want to have sex with him.

The woman, under the pseudonym Grace, said she left Ansari’s apartment feeling uncomfortable and victimised, and that she cried in the taxi on the way home. She said she texted him the following day to tell him how he made her feel, to which he replied: “Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”

Now, Ansari, a self-proclaimed feminist ally who wore a Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globes, has released a public response to the allegations through a representative, but many people believe it’s not good enough.

In the statement sent to Refinery29, Ansari confirms he went on a date with the woman. Here is his statement, in full:

“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 okay,” upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay 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.”

Responses on Twitter centered on continuing the conversation around consent, with some decrying Ansari’s statement for not addressing it or apologizing for his behavior.

[CN sexual violence]
It couldn’t even be called an apology. He’s waited, watched the horrific victim blaming, ‘that’s not sexual assault!’ narrative unfold and then perfectly crafted his response to meet it. What an absolute prick.

— G ?? (@geeriggle) January 15, 2018

But nah, he’s read her harrowing, upsetting account and basically said ‘Yeah, that’s what happened… I didn’t see a problem then and I don’t see a problem now?’

— G ?? (@geeriggle) January 15, 2018

Aziz Ansari’s statement doesn’t acknowledge that how he views his actions as consensual are actually that of a rapist. He apologizes for “misreading” a situation, but not being a sexual scumbag, which means this is how aggressive he is towards women too afraid to speak up.

— Tyler (@fruhoma) January 15, 2018

What is scary about Ansari’s “statement” is that he doesn’t contradict anything in the account and yet cannot see where he’s done anything wrong. That’s worrying on so many levels and is also a lack of awareness that is shared by far, far too many people.

— Colin P #FBPE (@ColinTDF) January 15, 2018

Just when I was about to start watching Master Of None, this Aziz Ansari news comes out. Disgusting, appalling, and I’m definitely not watching his show now. Even more so, after reading his statement.

— Santhosh (@SanthM) January 15, 2018

I read the Aziz Ansari statement and, ugh, It 100% feels like an attempt at placating his female fans by playing the “I didn’t know I did anything wrong but now that I do I can pretend that I care and that I’ve learned something so I look like a nice guy again.” card.

— Bails (@Bayyyleaf) January 15, 2018

Others have accused Ansari of intentionally misrepresenting what happened that night through his use of language and framing of the incident. In particular, some took issue with his claim that the woman only felt uncomfortable “upon further reflection” – i.e. only after the incident had taken place – which doesn’t correspond to her account.

TLDR: Ansari’s statement tonight doesn’t dispute any of the factual claims against him, but misrepresents his accuser’s words to make them fit a “regret” narrative—a standard trope in rape denialism.

— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) January 15, 2018

‘Upon further reflection’. Nowhere in her account or the published texts from the next day does she say that she changed her mind. She said, ‘Last night might’ve been fun for you but it wasn’t for me’ and details why

— Terri White (@Terri_White) January 15, 2018

To put those words essentially in her mouth feels like a sleight of hand

— Terri White (@Terri_White) January 15, 2018

That may have been his perception of what had happened, but it should have been framed as such

— Terri White (@Terri_White) January 15, 2018

Before the statement was released, a passage from Ansari’s best-selling book Modern Romance, in which he outlines the importance of reading body language in romantic encounters, was widely retweeted.

Aziz Ansari on body language, from his book Modern Romance.

— Jessie Thompson (@jessiecath) January 14, 2018

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