Aziz Ansari addresses sexual misconduct accusation

NEW YORK • Aziz Ansari has spent much of his recent stand-up comedy tour only peripherally referencing the accusation of sexual misconduct early last year that took him out of the public eye.

That changed on Monday night, when he took the stage in New York City at the Village Underground, an offshoot of the Comedy Cellar.

According to entertainment portal Vulture's Mr Jesse David Fox, who was in the audience for the set, Ansari said he had delayed discussing the accusation because "it's a terrifying thing to talk about" and he wanted to take time to process what he wanted to say.

He continued: "But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think a lot and I hope I've become a better person."

Ansari has given no interviews about the incident, details of which were published in a piece on Babe.net: an account of an anonymous woman who wrote that Ansari had misbehaved with her on a date and pressured her into sexual activity, despite her hesitation and refusals.

The article was criticised for its reporting methods, but nonetheless set off a debate about dating culture and the boundaries of the #MeToo movement during its height, particularly given Ansari's reputation as an outspoken advocate for women.

At Village Underground, Ansari told the crowd the accusation made him fear that he could never do stand-up again, but that he hoped there would be some positive results from the discussion that arose.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2019, with the headline 'Aziz Ansari addresses sexual misconduct accusation'. Print Edition | Subscribe