Comedian Aziz Ansari has addressed allegations of sexual misconduct in a stand-up show in New York City on Monday night.
Ansari appeared to an audience of 200, saying claims made a year ago by an anonymous woman online alleging he had ignored a young woman’s cues to stop sexual activity made him feel “upset and humiliated”.
An article on US website Babe.net claimed an anonymous woman had gone on a date with Ansari and felt pressured into sex with him. The woman described non verbal and verbal cues signalling discomfort which she claimed the comedian ignored.
He said the allegations, that referred to the night in question as the “worst experience she’s had with a man”, made him feel “upset and humiliated”.
Ansari told the audience of around 200 at the Village Underground that he was addressing the claims now, a year after the allegations were first made against him, because he wanted time to process the event and assess what to say.
“It’s a terrifying thing to talk about,” Ansari said
“There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way.
“But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person.”
Ansari told the crowd that a friend in his life said the incident has made him now think differently about every date he goes on.
“If that has made not just me but other guys think about this, and just be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing,” Ansari said.
“And I think it also just gave me perspective on my life.”
“I think I just felt really pressured,” the anonymous photographer said in the Babe.net article, published in January 2018.
“I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested. I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored,” said the anonymous 23-year-old.
The Babe.net reporting shows text messages between Ansari and the photographer. The day following their date she confronts him.
“It was fun meeting you last night,” Ansari texts to the woman.
“Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me,” she wrote back.
Ansari issued a statement at the time saying he considered the meeting consensual.
“I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said,” his statement read.
He went on to say he supports the #MeToo movement.
The comedians Monday night appearance was a “pop up” before he embarks on a more extensive formal tour over the US Spring season.