It doesn’t take long for Aziz Ansari to mention the elephant in the room during his new Netflix comedy special.
The “Master of None” star makes a joke about recently being mistaken for another Indian-American comic, Hasan Minhaj. Ansari says the person tried to prove they knew who he was by listing some of his credits before mentioning, “You had that whole thing last year, sexual misconduct.”
“That was Hasan,” Ansari quips.
In “Aziz Ansari: Right Now,” which started streaming Tuesday on Netflix, the comedian then discusses the January 2018 allegation against him and the ensuing fallout.
What his accuser says happened
In a 3,000-word account published on the website Babe, a 23-year-old photographer described what she said was an upsetting date with Ansari.
According to the woman, who shared her account anonymously, she was repeatedly “pressured” by Ansari to have intercourse, which they didn’t, and to perform oral sex, which she says they did.
The woman told Babe she used verbal and non-verbal cues to communicate she was “distressed.” Following the encounter, Ansari arranged for an Uber to pick her up, she said.
“I cried the whole ride home. At that point I felt violated,” she said, telling Babe she felt the experience amounted to sexual assault.
CNN does not know the identity of the woman.
Ansari released a statement soon after saying he went on a date with the woman and engaged 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,” Ansari wrote in a statement obtained by CNN. “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.”
Ansari’s fans remain split over the allegation
Ansari was never criminally charged, and people were divided between those who thought the star was the latest powerful man to be fingered for sexual misconduct amid the #MeToo movement and those who believed he had simply had a bad date.
That’s still happening. After the special’s release, there has been plenty of conversation on social media, both pro and con Ansari.
“I’m still actually confused on why people are mad at aziz ansari????,” one person tweeted. “He did nothing without consent and shouldn’t be included in the me too movement AT ALL.”
Another person tweeted “Wait, WHEN did we decide Aziz Ansari was forgiven and allowed to carry on? Did I miss that??”
The comedian’s latest comments
Ansari reiterates his initial statement in his new comedy special, saying, “There’s times I felt scared. There’s times I felt humiliated. There’s times I felt embarrassed.
“And ultimately,” he adds, “I just felt terrible that this person felt this way.”
At the end of the special Ansari expresses his gratitude to the audience members for coming to the show.
“It means the world to me because I saw the world where I don’t ever get to do this again,” he says. “And it almost felt like I died.”