In the long string of sexual harassment and assault allegations spewing out of Hollywood, the latest allegation comes as quite a shock to many people. Especially because the abuser is a self-proclaimed feminist and recent Golden Globe winner, Aziz Ansari.
On a night documented by text messages, the 23-year-old accuser, Grace claims that the ‘Master of None’ star came onto her in a manner that left her highly emotional and feeling as though she had been taken advantage of. The day following their first date, Grace sent a text message to Ansari letting him know the level of discomfort she felt during their tryst. In a response, he apologized, somewhat halfheartedly, and said he had no intention of making anyone feel uncomfortable.
Aziz, both through text and official statement, apologized to the accuser, saying, “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.”
This brings about an interesting conversation surrounding the topic of sexual harassment, how is it truly defined?
Some say this woman had several opportunities to simply leave and forgo the interaction entirely or voice her concerns to him in the moment, while others claim she should not have even been placed in the position to have to choose to leave or stay.
While men in Hollywood are consistently losing status, losing jobs, and losing executive positions on boards due to allegations of sexual harassment, some people are beginning to wonder when enough is enough and whether or not these allegations require the loss of everything for the accused abusers.
In a case like Aziz Ansari, you have no choice but to feel for the woman in question. But you can’t help but question whether or not this interaction calls for the end of a man’s career. After all, she clearly stated in her text message that everything, “seemed okay” which may have been the only reason Ansari behaved the way he did.
It’s as if her response was consensual, and she didn’t say anything until after the fact. So it would make sense that he would continue on with these activities. If she was that uncomfortable she should have mentioned something in the moment rather than the next day.
Was Aziz sexually harassing or assaulting this woman, or was he simply failing to read cues properly in a state of inebriation and sexual excitement? Does he deserve to have his entire career ruined by a passed mistake? Why is she bringing this up publicly when it was handled privately when he was made aware and apologized for his actions? Or should the woman accusing him take responsibility for the part she played in the night’s events?
So many questions get thrown around in cases like this, and it’s no wonder women continue to keep secrets for the very accusers who deserve far worse consequences than simply being forced to change careers.