Joel McHale Defends Aziz Ansari, Calls Sexual Misconduct Claims Just a ‘Really Bad Date’ 

Joel McHale and Aziz Ansari
Joel McHale and Aziz Ansari Tamarra/GC Images; Krista Kennell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Joel McHale defended Aziz Ansari after the Master of None actor didn’t attend the 2018 SAG Awards amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

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“It was probably just a really bad date,” McHale told TMZ at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday, January 22. “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.”

The Community alum, 46, added, “The Me Too movement is tremendous and it is awesome and needs to continue forever. But if someone had a bad date, then it was a bad date.”

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 As previously reported, using the pseudonym Grace, a 23-year-old photographer from Brooklyn, New York, told the website in a story published January 13 that she met Ansari, 34, at an Emmys afterparty in September 2017. They later went on a date, which Grace described as “the worst night of my life.” The photographer claims to have been uncomfortable with how quickly things escalated, with Ansari allegedly saying he was going to grab a condom as soon as they began to kiss.

Ansari responded in a statement to Us Weekly on January 14, confirming that he had met Grace but that he believed their encounter was consensual. 

“The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed OK,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable,” the Parks and Rec alum said at the time. “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. I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”

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Ansari skipped the 2018 SAG Awards on Sunday, January 21, one week after he was accused of sexual misconduct. The star-studded audience did not applaud when his name was announced during the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series nominations. Shameless star William H. Macy took home the trophy and gave a shoutout to the category’s nominees, including Ansari, during his acceptance speech.

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