On Saturday, a story came to light about Aziz Ansari allegedly coercing a girl into a sexual encounter, and many fans can't believe what they're hearing.
The graphic story was published on Babe.net. The alleged victim gave an interview on the condition of anonymity. She explained how she met Ansari at an Emmys after-party and planned a date with him for a later time.
Following their dinner date, the alleged victim says Ansari rushed her back to his apartment, where he tried repeatedly and aggressively to initiate sex until she finally left.
In a strange way, the online reactions to Ansari's case are more confused and betrayed than any of the others that have come out since October. Ansari is portrayed as the quintessential "nice guy" in shows like Parks and Recreation and Master of None. His stand-up routines usually revolve around dating and courtship, and he even co-wrote a book studying the sociological impact of modern dating.
I talked to a girl who says she went on a date with @azizansari in an exclusive for @babedotnet. She told me, "It was by far the worst experience with a man I’ve ever had." I believe her. #TimesUp #MeToo #AzizAnsari https://t.co/p7q0fjSsh0— Katie Way (@k80way) January 13, 2018
Many women online were not only unsurprised by the allegations against Ansari, they were unsurprised by the shock it drew from his wider audience. The story started a conversation about coercion, non-verbal cues and the myth of "mixed signals" across Twitter.
The thing about the Aziz Ansari allegations is that A LOT of men, even at 34, don’t understand that unless it’s an enthusiastic and obvious “YES” it’s not consensual. Coercion is not consent. Just because she didn’t kick and scream and claw your face off you think it’s fine.— Rayana Dgi🥧🔮🎀 (@RayanaDonn) January 14, 2018
If you think the story about Aziz Ansari is just a "bad date" then you literally don't understand how complex rape and sexual assault can be. If a person is repeatedly telling and giving you indications they do not want to have sex w/ you, then you should stop & not try anything— Kayla Morosco (@catsaesthetics) January 14, 2018
It's interesting to witness women reading this story and instantly knowing right away the boundaries that were crossed - while men see nothing wrong with Aziz Ansari's behavior and say it's just ~mixed messages~— Vice Admiral Laura Dern (@ashcech) January 14, 2018
Women who support the #MeToo movement and the Time's Up campaign were quick to distinguish the alleged victim's behavior from a coy act of playing hard-to-get. However, there were some who felt that the story was a distractingly specific case and ultimately detracted from the effect those movements would have on people.
Babe, I read your story. Twice. The woman describes a very bad date and I hope she can take comfort in knowing we've all been there. Just not always with famous people.— Alexandra Halaby (@iskandrah) January 14, 2018
I hope your brand new start up company set aside money for a lawyer. Credibility doesn't look so good from where I see it. Looks like you wanted to be a part of the #MeToo movement but you are actually hindering the cause w/such a watered down recollection of a bad date pic.twitter.com/K3Xph0dSj0— Jodylove (@gigiflacko) January 14, 2018
Two millennials submersed in hookup culture experience a bad date with even worse communication.— annarotica ☭ (@annarotica) January 14, 2018
Several people pointed out that, wherever Ansari's actions fall on the spectrum of "misconduct," it's worth noting that he has capitalized off of his persona as a harmless, feminist "nice guy," and yet here he is behaving imperfectly.
This case with Aziz Ansari is just further proof of how prevalent sexual assault is in our society. Even the so-called “nice guys” are often at the root of the issue. It’s particularly troubling because Ansari is someone who capitalized off of respecting women. https://t.co/UYXPsXEfcI— Kelly (@kellyblaus) January 14, 2018