Actor Aziz Ansari has now responded to the allegations of sexual misconduct by a 23-year-old female New York photographer who he went on a date with last year.
Speaking anonymously to media platform Babe, the woman referred to as “Grace” gave an account of her date with the Master of None star, describing the incident as “by far the worst experience with a man I’ve ever had”.
In the interview, Grace narrated in detail how she met Ansari at an Emmy party in Los Angeles in 2017. They soon exchanged text messages, and after a week, arranged to meet again in Manhattan for a date. She claimed that the encounter ended with her crying on an Uber ride home.
Grace told the publication that Ansari made multiple unwanted sexual advances on her despite her communicating through verbal and non-verbal means that he was already making her uncomfortable.
Within minutes of their first kiss, she said Ansari told her he was going to grab a condom, to which she expressed her hesitation explicitly. “I said something like, ‘Whoa, let’s relax for a sec, let’s chill.’”
“Most of my discomfort was expressed in me pulling away and mumbling. I know that my hand stopped moving at some points,” she said. “I stopped moving my lips and turned cold.”
She claimed that Ansari had repeatedly asked her: “Where do you want me to f**k you?” and motioned her to do a sex act on him several times. She admitted to complying with some of his suggestions, in other times, she expressed her disapproval.
“He sat back and pointed to his penis and motioned for me to go down on him. And I did. I think I just felt really pressured,” said the woman.
“It was literally the most unexpected thing I thought would happen at that moment because I told him I was uncomfortable.”
And after she eventually told him that she didn’t “want to feel forced”, Ansari would allegedly continue making the advances until she was able to get her Uber ride home. After she had gone home, Grace received a text message from Ansari saying it was “fun” meeting her.
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
In her text response to Ansari, she expressed her dismay:
“I just want to take this moment to make you aware of [your] behavior and how uneasy it made me.”
Ansari responded with an apology, stating: “Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”
In a public statement released Sunday evening, Ansari responded to the accusation, confirming that they indeed met at a party last year, exchanged numbers, texted and eventually went on a date, reports Vulture.
“In September of last year, I met a woman at a party.” Ansari said in a statement. “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.”
In her interview, Grace said the experience totally shocked her as she knew Ansari’s comedic persona as the “woke” sensitive guy who has been vocal against racism and sexual assault in his material. She said this is partly why she didn’t leave the apartment sooner.
After leaving Ansari’s apartment, she texted a friend on her way home saying, “I hate men.”
“I was stunned and shocked,” Grace was quoted as saying. “This was not what I expected. I’d seen some of his shows and read excerpts from his book and I was not expecting a bad night at all, much less a violating night and a painful one.”
According to Grace, her friends helped her overcome the experience she had with Ansari.
“It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault,” she explained. “I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that’s why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say because I wanted validation that it was actually bad.”
She further noted that Ansari’s Golden Globes win reminded her of the incident. “It was actually painful to watch him win and accept an award. And absolutely cringe-worthy that he was wearing the Time’s Up pin. I think that started a new fire, and it kind of made it more real.”
Netizens have so far been split on the issue, specifically on what amounts to consent in a dating context, with many questioning if the woman’s account actually amounts to actual sexual misconduct or a really bad case of misread cues.