“Master of None” star Aziz Ansari has responded to an allegation of sexual assault by a woman he went out on a date with in the fall.
“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 wrote in a statement obtained by CNN on Sunday.
“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,” Ansari’s statement continued. “I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”
In a story published by the website Babe on Saturday, a 23-year-old photographer, who shared her account anonymously, described meeting Ansari at an Emmy Awards event in September where she gave him her phone number.
CNN does not know the identity of the woman.
About a week later, the two went out to dinner. The date continued at Ansari’s apartment afterward, where, according to the woman, she was repeatedly “pressured” by Ansari to have intercourse, which they didn’t, and to perform oral sex, which she did.
The woman told Babe she used verbal and non-verbal cues to communicate she was “distressed.” Following the encounter, Ansari arranged for an Uber to pick her up, she said.
“I cried the whole ride home. At that point I felt violated,” she said, telling Babe she felt her experience with Ansari amounted to sexual assault.
When Ansari won a Golden Globe Award for his Netflix series “Master of None” earlier this month, the woman said she felt compelled to share her experience.
“It was actually painful to watch him win and accept an award,” she said. “And absolutely cringeworthy that he was wearing the Time’s Up pin. I think that started a new fire, and it kind of made it more real.”
Time’s Up is a campaign by women in entertainment to heighten awareness of gender inequality issues and curtail sexual harassment across industries.
“I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue,” Ansari’s statement concluded.
The allegations against the 34-year-old comedian, who wrote a 2015 book on dating called “Modern Romance,” have sparked debate about what constitutes sexual consent.
Feminist author Jessica Valenti tweeted, “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.”
Others defended Ansari. In a column for The Atlantic, Caitlyn Flanagan wrote that Ansari had been professionally “assassinated” on the basis of “one woman’s anonymous account.”
“Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab, and who have spent a lot of time picking out pretty outfits for dates they hoped would be nights to remember,” Flanagan wrote. “They’re angry and temporarily powerful and last night they destroyed a man who didn’t deserve it.”