Lena Waithe, the creator of Showtime’s The Chi and the Emmy-winning writer and star of Master of None, spoke out regarding the allegations against co-star and co-writer Aziz Ansari during a recent interview with radio station KPCC’s The Frame.
In case you missed the media frenzy, in mid-January, Ansari was thrust into the spotlight when an essay published on Babe.net accused the actor of sexual impropriety. Many think pieces have since surfaced, dissecting the article by all means possible, from the quality of its journalism to the “grayness” of its claims. Discussing the essay has been a point of contention for many—a point that Saturday Night Live expertly satirized in its Jan. 27 episode.
When asked to comment, Waithe discussed the movement as a whole, telling KPCC:
“Here's the truth—in every situation, it's not always black and white. And I know that's simple for people, and it's easy for people to [ask], Whose side are you on? There are no sides, really, in some of these scenarios. I'm not on Harvey Weinstein's side, I'm not on Kevin Spacey's side. But I think you have take each situation [individually]. You can't just say, Well, I'm on this person's team, or I'm on that person's team. It doesn't work that way.
I think a big thing is, we have to have a dialogue. And I think if we're unwilling to have a dialogue we're gonna continue to keep hitting our heads against the wall. We have to start re-educating ourselves about what consent is, what's appropriate behavior at the workplace. We have to create codes of conduct. Those are things that we need. 'Cause also I think there's an element of—how do you know if you're breaking a rule if you aren't aware of the rules? Or how do you know what appropriate behavior is if no one's ever communicated to you what appropriate behavior is? Even though some people may assume, Well, of course, we all know what appropriate behavior is, but some people may not know.
It's about really educating ourselves and not stepping in it and just [saying], Oh, I'm sorry. My bad—and sort of keep going. But it's about really sitting with yourself and educating yourself in terms of what consent is, what it looks like, what it feels like, what it sounds like. And all of us starting to really act accordingly based on this new information that I think we have now. We all gotta start talking to each other, start educating each other."