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Aziz Ansari Responds to Sexual Assault Allegations: “I took her words to heart”

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Brian To/WENN.com

Filmmaker, actor, and comedian Aziz Ansari is the latest Hollywood man to be accused of sexual assault, following other powerful people in the acting world like James Franco last week and Ed Westwick a few months ago. On January 13, a 23-year-old New York-based photographer published her account of a nightmarish night out with the Master of None actor in a babe article titled, “I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life.”

According to the photographer, who asked to remain anonymous but used the name “Grace” in the article, she met Ansari at the 2017 Emmy Awards after-party, where she approached him to ask what kind of camera he was shooting with. They exchanged numbers, texted flirtatiously for a week, and then went on their first (and only) date in Manhattan.

After a brief dinner, the date moved to Ansari's TriBeCa apartment where things got physical; the photographer allegedly felt “uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated,” the article reads.

“I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested,” she said. “I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored.”

The article continues to detail the photographer's account of her time with Ansari inside his apartment, up until she finally managed to escape in an Uber. She said, “I cried the whole ride home. At that point I felt violated. That last hour was so out of my hand.”

When Ansari allegedly texted her after the incident, she told him she hadn't enjoyed their time together and that he had ignored her non-verbal cues, to which Ansari replied, “I’m so sad to hear this. Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”

It took Ansari nearly a day and a half to respond to the babe article, sending the following statement to The Fader:

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.

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.
I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.

-Aziz Ansari

In his response, Ansari doesn't deny the photographer's story but does claim the acts they engaged in were “completely consensual” as far as he could read them. Despite his perception of the events, he apologizes upon learning she was upset. He also continues to align himself with the Time's Up movement spearheaded by Hollywood's women to make all work environments safe and fair for both sexes.

Ansari recently took home a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for his role as Dev in Master of None and the show, which he also writes in, has confronted issues like gender inequality and sexual assault in the past.

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