Comedian Aziz Ansari reflected on the 2018 sexual misconduct allegations made against him during his Netflix special that landed Tuesday, a stand-up show called Aziz Ansari Right Now. During the special, 36 year-old Ansari spoke about how the accusation has affected him emotionally. “There’s times I felt scared. There’s times I felt humiliated. There’s times I felt embarrassed. And ultimately, I just felt terrible. That this person felt this way.”
In early 2018, a sexual misconduct allegation was posted anonymously to the website babe.net and quoted a 23 year-old woman from Brooklyn, New York, under a pseudonym. The woman described a date with Ansari a few months earlier, during which she said he allegedly acted aggressively towards her and allegedly pressured her during a sexual encounter.
At the time, Ansari addressed the allegation and described the encounter as “completely consensual.” Ansari added that he was “surprised and concerned” when the woman later texted him to say that she felt uncomfortable about what had happened on their date. “I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said,” Ansari said in a statement to his publicist.
The woman asserts that the encounter was sexual assault, alleging that Ansari disregarded verbal and emotional cues that indicated she was uncomfortable with his actions. According to the woman, he allegedly attempted to initiate sex despite her disinterest. “I said, I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you,” the woman recalls. The woman claims that Ansari seemed to get the message at first, but allegedly soon started up again with his attempts to initiate sexual activity.
The allegation came at a time when sexual abusers in Hollywood were being outed during the #MeToo movement, as high-profile and powerful men began to face consequences for their actions. Ansari said that despite the allegations made against him, “I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”
After watching Ansari win a Golden Globe for his Netflix series Master of None, the woman came forward with her claim. Ansari was wearing a Time’s Up pin on his lapel during the ceremony, which indicated support for the movement against sexual harassment.
Ansari is a comedian who wrote a 2015 book on love and relationships called Modern Romance. He also starred on NBC’s Parks and Rec and has earned Emmys and Golden Globes for Master of None.