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Aziz Ansari Reflects on Sexual Misconduct Allegations in Netflix Special: 'Ultimately, I Felt Terrible'

Aziz Ansari Netflix Special

Aziz Ansari‘s newest comedy special hit Netflix on Tuesday, and he wasted no time addressing the elephant in the room.

Less than five minutes into Aziz Ansari: Right Now, the comedian acknowledged the sexual misconduct allegations that were leveled against him more than a year ago, admitting that he “just felt terrible” that his accuser felt she’d been violated by him.

To refresh your memory: In January 2018, a 23-year-old woman using the pseudonym Grace posted an article on the now-defunct Babe.net, detailing a date with Ansari that ended in an uncomfortable — and, by her account, nonconsensual — sexual encounter with the actor. After the article was published, Ansari said in a statement that “it was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”

Ansari shared a similar sentiment with his Right Now audience, noting that “I felt so many things in the last year or so” after the allegations came to light.

“There’s times I felt scared, there’s times I felt humiliated, there’s times I felt embarrassed. And ultimately, I just felt terrible that this person felt this way,” he shared, speaking in a hushed voice. “And after a year or so, I just hope it was a step forward. It moved things forward for me, made me think about a lot. I hope I’ve become a better person.”

The Master of None star said he’s also had meaningful conversations with others about issues of consent: “I always think about a conversation I had with one of my friends where he was like, ‘You know what, man? That whole thing made me think about every date I’ve ever been on.’ And I thought, ‘Wow. Well, that’s pretty incredible.’ If this made not just me, but other people, be more thoughtful, then that’s a good thing, and that’s how I feel about it.”

Ansari then brought some levity to the moment, acknowledging that “this isn’t the most hilarious way to begin a comedy show. But it’s important to me that you know how I feel about that whole thing before we share this night together.”

Aziz Ansari: Right Now is currently available to stream on Netflix. What did you think of his response to the controversy?