Aziz Ansari, who just won a Golden Globe last week for starring in his Netflix series, Master of None, and who wrote a best-selling book about “Modern Romance,” has responded to a #MeToo allegation about him from a woman who dated him last September.
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
And you can read Ansari’s reply here:
I’m not going to litigate this, but the allegation, along with everything else, has left me with several circumstantial and more lasting thoughts to consider. Among them:
- The high irony (hypocrisy) of Ansari writing a best-selling book called Modern Romance and touring behind it for more than a year, positioning himself as woke on the subject of reading social cues and consent from women, yet not in real life.
- The very likely notion that more women will come forward with their own stories about Ansari, or anyone else, once the first story (no matter how suspect that allegation might be) surfaces.
- The generational differences. As a member of Gen X, I grew up with all the sex education from fifth through eighth grades, and none of the cell phones for texting nor Internet for porn nor social media for oversharing. My generation still has way too many bad boys reinforced by societal attitudes toward women and gender roles. But the problem didn’t seem so widespread as it does now, did it? Or are we just hearing more about it now? Women know the answer to this much better than I do, and even some women in my age group seem flummoxed by this as they write about it.
- The entitlement of celebrities, which is even worse/more pervasive than the entitlement of straight white men, unless you combine them (see: Donald Trump). That’s the dark truth behind his Access Hollywood confession. Guys who are famous/rich really do think they can get away with anything, or that they’re entitled to it.
- But that’s not “locker room talk.” The creeps in comedy certainly didn’t brag about their exploits to other men in comedy. They kept their mouths shut, or even denied it. The only people creeps confide in are other creeps.
- As Dave Chappelle said in his last special, The Bird Revelation, women are going to have to rely on “imperfect allies” as we change the cultural expectations together. Chappelle himself is one of those imperfect allies. So, too, is Al Franken.
- With creeps in comedy, I’m so far left with the undeniable circumstantial evidence that everyone brought up on charges and allegations also had acted coldly toward me in one way or another. Franken, Ansari, T.J. Miller, all three have stiff-armed me in the past. Louis CK, the exception, always treated me friendly, although he stalled my interview requests in recent years. It’s becoming more trend than coincidence that men who shun me may treat women even more harshly.
- How we separate the jerks from the monsters is a task we need to figure out moving forward. We cannot let them all slide, to be sure, but lumping them all together doesn’t exactly help the cause long-term. This is as true for gender equality as it is for racial equality. Some of the bad actors can be rehabilitated, some of the complicit sleepers can get woke. We need to create an environment that fosters waking up as many of us as possible.
- Chappelle’s warning about a backlash also holds weight. If we overreach, if we don’t sort out the rotten apples from the merely bad apples, we risk a societal backlash.
- Which makes me think about how Trump and his racist supporters also represent a backlash to the Obama years, and the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency; the hopefully last gasp of an outdated, backward philosophy.
I’m still figuring out how best to use my voice, my platform, to move the conversation forward into action and tangible, lasting results. For me and others like me, we can use all the help we can get.