Speaking to an audience of 200 at New York City’s Village Underground on Monday, the 35-year-old comedian opened up about the accusation that “upset, humiliated and embarrassed” him. He said that he needed time to process his response.
“It’s a terrifying thing to talk about,” the “Master of None” star said, according to Vulture. “There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way.”
In January 2018, Babe published the story of a woman identified as “Grace,” who claimed that Ansari made sexual advances despite “verbal and non-verbal cues” suggesting her distress.
“He probably moved my hand to his dick five to seven times,” she recalled one detail. “He really kept doing it after I moved it away.”
Grace’s allegation came to light in the midst of the #MeToo movement, where many came forward to expose countless men of sexual misconduct around the world.
In a statement, Ansari claimed that everything from his perspective appeared to be “consensual,” adding that he was “surprised and concerned” after hearing the story.
Ansari, who mostly retreated in the wake of the scandal, told the crowd that he hopes to have become a “better person.”
“After a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person,” he said. “If that has made not just me but other guys think about this, and just be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing.”
Ansari thought at one point that he would never be able to do comedy again, but he is now back in business and ever more grateful to his supporters.
“Now, I really mean it. I mean it on a different level,” he said about thanking fans after a performance. “You did all this shit just to hear me talk for an hour and some change, and it means the world to me, so thank you so much.”
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