Indian-origin actor Aziz Ansari, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by a woman with whom he went on a date last year, has responded to the claims saying the two engaged in “sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual”.
The 34-year-old actor’s statement comes after a 23-year- old Brooklyn-based photographer recounted a date with him that she called “the worst night of my life” in an interview.
“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 in a statement given to People magazine.
The “Master of None” actor further said a text by the woman, named as ‘Grace’ in the article, said that she felt uneasy with how things transpired the night before and responded to her privately as he was “concerned” about her.
“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,” he said.
Ansari, who became the first man of Asian descent to win Golden Globe recently for his performance in the Netflix show, added he supported the movement that has given women a chance to speak up about the injustice they have been subjected to till date.
“I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue,” he said.
In the interview, the woman vividly described how she exchanged numbers with Ansari at the 2017 Emmy Awards after- party and went on a date with him on a bar on the banks of the Hudson river, which escalated quickly to a sexual encounter at his apartment.
The woman said she voiced her hesitation explicitly during their encounter.
She said she “used verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was”. The woman added that her reticence to engage in the act was “ignored” by the actor.
Grace alleged Ansari called her a cab when she wanted to leave and texted her the next day.
She shared a screenshot of the alleged conversation, in which she said, “Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me. You ignored clear non-verbal cues; you kept going with advances.”
To this the actor allegedly replied, “I’m so sad to hear this. All I can say is, it would never be my intention to make you or anyone feel the way you described. Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”
Grace said she decided to come forward with the incident after she saw Ansari wearing a Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globe Awards last week, where he won best comedy actor in a TV series.
“It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault. 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 said in the interview.