Aziz Ansari has responded to a claim of sexual misconduct by a woman he went on a date with last September.
In a lengthy story published Saturday on the website Babe.net, a woman described as a 23-year-old photographer from Brooklyn claims Ansari aggressively pushed her to perform sexual acts after she went back to his Tribeca apartment following dinner at a restaurant. The woman is identified only by the pseudyonym Grace in the story. She claims Ansari pressured her into giving him oral sex, tried to get her to touch his penis, repeatedly stuck his fingers into her mouth, and tried to stick his fingers in her vagina.
When she ultimately decided to leave his apartment, Ansari arranged for an Uber to pick her up. The following day, she sent him a text message telling him his behavior made her “uneasy.” According to the story, Ansari responded: “Clearly I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”
The woman decided to come forward after watching Ansari win a Golden Globe Award for his Netflix series “Master of None.” At the ceremony, he wore a Time’s Up pin on his lapel, indicating his support for the entertainment industry initiative designed to combat sexual harassment.
The woman asserts that her encounter with Ansari amounted to sexual assault. He ignored her verbal and emotional cues that she was uncomfortable with his actions, the story states.
The 34 year-old comedian responded to the claim on Sunday night through his publicist, Jodi Gottlieb.
“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,” Ansari said.
“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,” he said. “It is necessary and long overdue.”
The claims against Ansari have sparked a debate in social media about whether the experience described in the story crosses the line into misconduct or would be more accurately described as a bad date.
Ansari is known for his observational humor on love and relationships. He wrote a well-received book on the subject, “Modern Romance,” which was published in 2015. He has broken ground for talent of Indian descent through his work on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” and his Emmy and Golden Globe wins for “Master of None.”