Master of None star and vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement has fueled both fem-rage and anti-feminist sentiment after babe.net tweets story of a Brooklyn photographer vividly describing Ansari’s offensive sexual behavior while on a date in 2017.
According to the woman, given the fictitious name Grace, Ansari —self-proclaimed male feminist— pushed for unwanted sexual activity after being given numerous signals his date didn’t want to sleep with him. She told Babe: “I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested. I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored.”
In her graphic description of the awkward sexual encounter —that occurred post-dinner at Ansari’s nearby Tribeca apartment—, “Grace” recalls the comedian intentionally or unintentionally ignoring her discomfort. Despite her dodging his pubescent sexual advances, he persisted in asking her if she wants to have sex. She told babe.net, “I wasn’t really even thinking of that, I didn’t want to be engaged in that with him. But he kept asking, so I said, ‘Next time.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, you mean the second date?’ and I go, ‘Oh, yeah, sure,’ and he goes, ‘Well if I poured you another glass of wine now, would it count as our second date?’”
Grace’s account of the cringe-worthy date describes the oldest dating faux pas that’s been around since high school. —Guy pushes for sex before a girl is ready or comfortable. Guy keeps pushing for sex after it’s been made clear his advances are not reciprocated.— Based on Grace’s follow-up text to Ansari post-date, it seems like this night Aziz Ansari was that guy.
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
Ansari’s fans are shaken to the core by allegations. They’re stunned that beloved, 34-year-old Parks and Recreation star used his celebrity to sexually pressure a 22-year-old into sex. Disenchanted, fans on twitter begin to question: What happened to Aziz Ansari the nice guy that advocates for women’s rights or roles in society on Letterman?
this aziz ansari mess has me stunned. stunned at how as a man, you make your career off playing the "woke" male feminist character then behind closed curtains you're acting like this..
stunned at the way it's being trivialized by some as solely a "bad date"
— james (@jameslemm) January 14, 2018
And what about the nice guy mansplaining problematic male aggression towards women in his Netflix stand-up comedy special? But according to the accuser’s account of the bad date, Ansari clearly was the nice guy that wanted to get laid that night.
I hope this is Aziz Ansari thing finally drives home what I’ve been saying for years: ladies – when a dorky beta-male talks about what a “feminist” he is, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
— Josh Denny (@JoshDenny) January 14, 2018
Then again, like most of today’s political discord some people are questioning, why the outrage? Sure he violated his own liberal gospel of anti-misogyny, but he didn’t force the girl into sex.
This may be true, but Ansari is still a Hollywood hotshot speaking on feminist issues the way most celebrities do. Girl Power. #Metoo. Yay, I’m woke. But like many artist, his actions suggest he’s a fake male feminist. —He uses his public image as a way to show he’s a modern male, sympathetic to the woes of his female-counterpart. But his inability to decipher “the craw” is unsexy and offensive, suggests Hollywood’s #TimeUp advocate is actually what some call an off-brand cereal feminist; privately when it comes to sex, he doesn’t respect the feelings of actual women.
That Aziz Ansari piece isn't surprising to me but it is difficult and heartbreaking because I've been there, many times because "nice" men thought they could use whatever kindness they had performed earlier to ignore my boundaries in intimate situations.
— Lara Witt (@Femmefeministe) January 14, 2018
In Ansari’s defense, he admits to Cosmopolitan.com, “A lot of this stuff dudes are not aware of, and when they hear about it they’re like, ‘Holy sh—.’."
Hm. Some get this point but disagree, and for a few reasons:
A lot of men will read that post about Aziz Ansari and see an everyday, reasonable sexual interaction. But part of what women are saying right now is that what the culture considers "normal" sexual encounters are not working for us, and oftentimes harmful.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 14, 2018
In this case, many #MeToo supporters admit this case of celebrity sexual misconduct is a little ill-defined because, despite the accuser’s ambivalence, she consented to perform oral sex twice before leaving his apartment. Despite her reluctance, she engaged in a consensual sexual activity. The woman addressed this paradox by explaining to Babe,“I didn’t leave because I think I was stunned and shocked.” She said, “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.”
Needless to say, the awkward sexual interaction has sparked an emotionally charged conversation about: sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and celebrities exploiting social media sexual harassment campaigns.
Certainly, regarding efforts someone shouldn’t be criticized for standing up for victims of rape and sexual misconduct; anyone doing good work for the movement deserves praise. But someone like Ansari totally fails when he publicly endorses #TimesUp and female empowerment, without coming clean about his own misconduct and sexual impropriety. In a statement, released by his rep through The Hollywood Reporter Ansari says he was, “surprised and concerned” to find out his date felt uncomfortable. And in light of recent events, he has taken, “her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.” According to his rep, Ansari will, “continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”
Apology accepted or unaccepted?
Aziz Ansari is not a rapist. He did not sexually assault Grace in the way that we’ve traditionally understood sexual assault. However, his refusal to hear his date’s hesitance to have sex is a violation and crosses a boundary that many men have traipsed over.
— Evette Dionne 🤔 (@freeblackgirl) January 16, 2018
For now, he still faces judgment and twitter backlash.
Aziz Ansari has been a vocal feminist and made nuanced comedy about sexism. Maybe he's a massive hypocrite, or maybe this story has been overblown or embellished. Either way, the number of credible positive male role models in entertainment has become even smaller.
— Matt Jones (@MattJones13) January 15, 2018
Photo By Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press