"I hope I've become a better person."

By Christopher Luu
Feb 12, 2019 @ 9:45 pm

Let's go back, back to the beginning. Last year, an anonymous woman claimed that she and Aziz Ansari went out on a date and that they engaged in sexual behavior, only she considered what happened to be sexual assault and he said it was consensual. Now, for the first time, Ansari's talking about the issue. People reports that during a standup gig at the Village Underground in New York City on Monday night, Ansari called the situation "terrifying."

"There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way," he said. "But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I've become a better person."

Ansari continued, saying that he was grateful that he was able to perform comedy for a living, which he noted was one way that he gained "perspective" on his life. He went on to say that after the allegations, he feared he'd never be able to do it again.

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In another part of his set, he said that the allegations of sexual assault made him re-think almost every date he'd ever been on. He said that he was reminded of several conversations that he'd had with his friends, where they'd discussed what consent is and how important it is to be thoughtful of the other person in any encounter. He noted that he's come out the other side more knowledgeable and better all-around.

"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.

Ansari's accuser, who told her story under the pseudonym Grace, alleged that after the two met at the Emmy Awards after-party in September 2017, the two went on a date. After the meeting, she says that he coerced her into sexual acts, even though she was "physically giving off cues that [she] wasn't interested."

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After the allegations, Ansari said that he reached out to her privately. He'd laid low since, only performing at self-described "pop-up" shows. He'll be embarking on an international tour this spring. 

"I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture," he said in a statement following the accusations. "It is necessary and long overdue."

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