Actor and comedian Aziz Ansari has said the sexual misconduct allegation against him was humiliating, but he hopes he has become better since.
Last year, an account of an unidentified woman had come forward in which she claimed that a 2017 date with the Master of None actor left her feeling violated, prompted fierce debate about whether sexual assault and bad sex were being conflated.
Ansari said he believed their sexual activity was completely consensual. “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,” the actor said in a statement.
According to Vulture, Ansari reflected on the incident and the news cycle that followed it during a pop-up comedy set he performed in New York. The appearance was part of Ansari’s ongoing “new material” tour, during which he’s been performing similar pop-up sets and making informal appearances at comedy clubs around the country.
During his set, the Parks and Recreation actor said that he had needed time to process the incident, which portrayed him as ignoring signals that his date was uncomfortable and pressuring her to participate in escalating physical intimacy. “[A]fter a year,” Ansari said, “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.”
Ansari further explained that the allegation changed his outlook on dating and “perspective on life” too. “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,” he declared.
He also stated, he feared for his comedy career and “was scared that I would never be able to do this again.”