Comedian Aziz Ansari is opening up about the sexual misconduct allegation made against him in his new Netflix special that landed Tuesday, telling the audience at the top of the show that he continues to grapple with so many emotions.
"There's time I felt scared. There's times I felt humiliated. There's times I felt embarrassed," the 36-year-old says in his stand-up show, "Aziz Ansari: Right Now." "And ultimately, I just felt terrible. That this person felt this way."
The allegation was published anonymously in 2018 by the website babe.net and quoted a 23-year-old Brooklyn, New York, woman using a pseudonym who described a date with Ansari a few months earlier. She said he had acted aggressively and pressured her during a sexual encounter.
In a statement to NBC News at the time, Ansari described it as "completely consensual." He added that she did later text him to say she felt uncomfortable, and that while he was surprised, he "took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said."
The allegation against Ansari came as other stories of sexual misconduct began to entangle celebrities and high-profile and powerful men, leading to a #MeToo reckoning. But the fallout from Ansari's case also drew debate over the varying degrees and nuances over sexual misconduct as well as how such stories are reported to the public.
Without going into detail about what happened, Ansari said during his special, which was taped in Brooklyn in May and directed by Spike Jonze, that he hopes the experience has made him a better person.
"I always think about a conversation I've 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," Ansari said.