[Warning: This article includes descriptions of sexual misconduct that may be disturbing to some readers.]
According to a report from Babe.net, a Brooklyn-based photographer identified only as “Grace” has accused Aziz Ansari of forcing himself on her after the two of them went on a date last year. Grace says she met Ansari at the 2017 Emmys, when she noticed that both of them were taking photos with same ’80s camera. They exchanged numbers, and Ansari asked her out on a date near the end of September. She says she had been “excited” at the time, but she told Babe that it ended up being “the worst night of my life.”
Grace says the two went out for dinner, during which Ansari seemed “eager for them to leave” and return to his apartment in Manhattan. When they did, she commented on how much she liked his marble countertops, and he “turned the compliment into an invitation” by getting her to sit on the counter while he quickly began kissing and groping her. She says he began undressing her and himself, making multiple clear indications that he wanted to have sex, making her feel “uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated.”
At some point, Grace tried to directly turn down his attempts, verbally explaining that she didn’t want to have sex that night but might “next time,” and he simply poured her a glass of wine and asked if that could count as their second date. She excused herself to the bathroom and then returned to tell Ansari that she was uncomfortable and that she didn’t “want to feel forced.” Ansari said he understood and acknowledged her feelings, agreeing to “just chill” on the couch.
After they sat down, Grace alleges that he pressured her into giving him oral sex, saying it was “literally the most unexpected thing” because she had just told him she was uncomfortable. He then tried to get her to have sex with him again, at which point she once again told him that she didn’t want to do it. He agreed to “just chill” again, at which point she says she realized she had been “violated.” He tried kissing her again and “moved to undo her pants,” to which she responded, “you guys are all the fucking same.” He asked her to explain, but met her with “gross, forceful kisses” before she could answer.
Grace says she then got up to leave and got her phone to call a car, but Ansari gave her another “aggressive” kiss and called one for her, telling her to use the name “Essence”—a reference to a line on his Master Of None show, which happened to feature a storyline about a TV personality accused of sexual misconduct. Grace says she cried on the whole ride home and told multiple friends about the evening, who corroborated her story to Babe.
The site also shared a screencap of a text Grace says she sent to Ansari, informing him that he “ignored clear non-verbal cues” and that she wants him to be aware “so maybe the next girl doesn’t have to cry on the ride home.” After seeing Ansari win at the Golden Globes while wearing a #TimesUp pin, Grace says it “started a new fire” and “made it more real” for her.
Update: Ansari has now released a statement (via Pitchfork) confirming the basic details of Grace’s account and indicating that he believed everything that happened was “completely consensual.” After she texted him and informed him that it was not, he says he “took her words to heart” and “responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.” He ended his statement by saying that he continues “to support the movement that is happening in our culture” and that it is “necessary and long overdue.” You can read his full statement below.
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.