Taking a stand. Amy Schumer addressed the sexual harassment allegations against friend Aziz Ansari. The 34-year-old comedian defended the Master of None star, 36, while simultaneously supporting those who have come forward with misconduct claims.
“I don’t think anyone wants to see Aziz’s career ruined or his life ruined or anything like that, but that’s where people’s minds go,” Schumer said while appearing on The Katie Couric Podcast on Thursday, February 1. “They go, ‘Did he deserve this?’ And it’s really not about that. I think it’s about expressing and showing women that that behavior’s not OK, and not only can you leave, but you need to leave, because the women who come after you … You’re leaving a mark for them too, so it’s not just about your own encounter.”
The Trainwreck actress encouraged women to be clear with their partners about their comfort levels and limitations. “If you don’t really lay your boundaries out, then you’re leaving it open for the women who come after you. So I think a lot of women feel really bad that they’ve been complicit with things, but we didn’t know not to be. And I think now there’s kind of no excuse,” Schumer continued. “And if you have a doctor that makes you uncomfortable or you get a massage or you have a date with someone and they coerce you in a situation like the Aziz one, I don’t think there’s any sort of criminal charge, but I think that it’s good for everybody to learn that that behavior’s not acceptable. It’s not a crime, but it’s not cool. It can still really mess with a woman.”
Ansari came under fire earlier this month when a 23-year-old Brooklyn photographer accused him of harassment. The woman, who detailed her account to Babe.net under the moniker “Grace,” alleged that she met the Parks and Recreation alum at an afterparty for the 2017 Emmy Awards and went on a date with him shortly after.
According to Grace, the duo went back to Ansari’s apartment after dinner and started kissing. She claimed that things escalated quickly and she became very uncomfortable, which the Funny People actor either didn’t notice or ignored. Grace told the outlet that Ansari became forcible with her and pressured her into performing oral sex on him.
The Golden Globe winner responded to the allegations in a statement to Us Weekly on January 21. “In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on ad ate. We went out out to dinner, and afterwards we need up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual,” he said at the time. “The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed OK,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem OK 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.”
Added the filmmaker: “I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”
Ansari skipped the 2018 SAG Awards on January 21, despite being nominated for Master of None, and the audience reframed from applauding when his anime was announced during the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series nominations. Shameless’ William H. Macy took home the award and congratulated his fellow nominees, including Ansari.
Schumer is the latest celebrity to offer support to the Epic actor amid the accusations. HLN anchor Ashley Banfield slammed Grace for continuing to “engage in the sexual encounter” rather than leaving Ansari’s apartment. “So what exactly is your beef? That you had a bad date with Aziz Ansari?” Banfield, 50, asked on the January 16 episode of her show. “Is that what victimized you to the point of seeking a public condition? And a career-ending sentence against him?”
Joel McHale also defended Ansari while speaking to TMZ on January 22. “It was probably just a really bad date,” the Community alum, 46, said at the time. “The problem is that people will read just the name and then just the accusation, and they don’t find out anything more than that. But it sounds like it was consensual.”
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