Aziz Ansari is facing an allegation of sexual assault, with an anonymous woman claiming that the actor forced himself on her a series of times after a date the two had last year.
The allegations have now cast a long shadow over his Golden Globe-winning Netflix show, Master of None, leaving an uncertain future amid other shows canceled when the stars faced similar allegations.
The allegations against Ansari were published in an account in the publication babe, with the accuser going by the pseudonym Grace. The woman, who was 22 at the time of the incident, claimed she met Ansari after the 2017 Emmy Awards and that the two agreed to go on a date.
She described how the two went to dinner and later to Ansari’s apartment, where she claimed he forcibly kissed her several times and pressured her into oral sex.
The woman said the incident left her feeling uneasy, saying she cried during her Uber ride home that night and later texted Aziz Ansari to tell her how uncomfortable he had made her feel. She said Ansari apologized and said she grappled with the situation for a long time herself.
“It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault,” she told us. “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.”
The magazine also published the text message exchange between Ansari and the woman, which can be found here (be warned, it contains some adult language).
Grace said it was especially difficult for her to see Aziz Ansari wearing a “Time’s Up” pin at the Golden Globe Awards. The “Time’s Up” movement is calling for an end to workplace harassment of women, supporting those in lower-wage industries who fear repercussions for speaking out against sexual assault and harassment.
The allegation could spell trouble for Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show, Master of None. The streaming content company has already pulled the plug on projects after stars have been accused of sexual harassment. As Business Insider noted, Netflix canceled a comedy special from Louis C.K. after he was accused of acting in a sexually inappropriate manner with women and axed actor Kevin Spacey from House of Cards after he was accused of assault.Aziz Ansari did not respond to a request for an interview with babe regarding the sexual assault allegations. The woman making the claims also did not say if she planned to pursue legal action against the actor.
Update: A public statement was released by Ansari’s representative in response to the claim, according to ABC News.
“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.”