Aziz Ansari said being accused of sexual misconduct made him fear that he would never work in comedy again, but he hopes it encourages other men to go the extra mile to make other people feel more comfortable, according to a new report about Ansari’s New York City pop-up show on Vulture.
Ansari reportedly opened up about the year-old allegation in front of a crowd of 200 people at NYC’s Village Underground on Monday.
“It’s a terrifying thing to talk about,” he told the crowd, according to Vulture. “There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way.”
In January 2018, Babe.net published an account from a woman identified only as Grace, who alleged Ansari forced himself on her during a date despite “verbal and non-verbal cues” that she wasn’t interested.
At the time, Ansari released a statement that he believed everything between the two of them had been “consensual.”
On Monday, according to Vulture, Ansari said of the allegation: “After a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward.”
In the year after the allegation, Ansari primarily kept a low profile, but has recently started doing stand-up performances after announcing a tour late last year.
“It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person,” Ansari said on Monday, according to Vulture. “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 reportedly told the crowd that after the accusations emerged, he feared he would never be able to do comedy again.
Ansari said he used to tell the crowd “Thanks so much” at the end of a set.
“But now, I really mean it. I mean it on a different level,” he said, according to Vulture, adding that fans now have to put their phones in magnetic pouches so they can’s record sets. “You did all this s— just to hear me talk for an hour and some change, and it means the world to me, so thank you so much.”