Vulture reports that Ansari sat down and took a sombre tone as he told a crowd of about 200 at the Village Underground that it was a “terrifying” topic that made him feel “upset and humiliated and embarrassed,” and that ultimately he “just felt terrible this person felt this way”.
He recalled a conversation in which a friend told him it made him rethink every date he’s been 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,” he said.
“There was a moment where I was scared that I’d never be able to do this again,” he said. “I think it also just gave me perspective on my life.”
Last year, a 23-year-old photographer, under the pseudonym Grace, described being groped, harassed and pressured into sex during a date with Ansari following the 2017 Emmys.
The woman told the publication the two had flirted via text for about a week after meeting at the Emmys party, but a date that ended at Ansari’s Tribeca apartment where things “escalated uncomfortably”.
“In a second, his hand was on my breast,” the woman said, saying Ansari forcibly performed oral sex on her, and urged her to reciprocate. She also said he stuck his fingers in her mouth and repeatedly moved her hands towards his penis.
The woman said she voiced her discomfort, “pulling away and mumbling” and “stopped moving” to indicate she wasn’t interested. She told Ansari she didn’t want to “feel forced”, which the actor initially acknowledged, before continuing his advances.
Following the publication, Ansari released a statement confirming the woman’s account of the date, but suggested all sexual activity was “completely consensual”.
Amy Croffey is an entertainment reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age