Schumer doesn’t believe the piece should have career-ending consequences for the “Master of None” actor, but deems his alleged behavior as “not acceptable” in a frank conversation during a taping of the “The Katie Couric Podcast” released on Thursday.
“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,” the comic told Couric. “They go, ‘Does he deserve this?’ And it’s really not about that. I think it’s about expressing and showing women that that behavior is not OK and not only can you leave, but you need to leave. Because then the women who come after you, you’re leaving a mark for them too.”
“He’s been my friend and I really feel for the woman,” she added later in the conversation. “I identify with all the women in these situations. Even if it’s my friend, I don’t go, ‘Oh, but he’s a good guy.’ I think, ‘What would it feel like to have been her?’”
A 23-year-old woman told the website Babe.net about a date she went on with Ansari last September, which she described as “the worst night of my life.” The woman, who used the pseudonym Grace to protect her identity, says the comedian allegedly continued to initiate a sexual encounter despite her giving “verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was.”
In a statement to HuffPost, Ansari confirmed certain details of the story but said he considered the sexual activity to be “completely consensual.”
“The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed okay,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable,” the statement read. “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’s alleged sexual misconduct quickly launched a national conversation about what constitutes consent, and even “Saturday Night Live” aired a sketch about the story. Schumer, who’s been open about her history with sexual assault, is hopeful that this dialogue, no matter how uncomfortable, will not only continue, but spur change.
“There are so many other kinds of sexual misconduct,” the “Trainwreck” actress said. “We’ve all — every woman I know, every woman in this room — we’ve all had these experiences. And in this current climate, it brings these things up and you go, ‘God, none of that was OK.’ ”
“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,” she continued. “It’s not a crime, but it’s not cool. And it can still really mess with a woman.”
Listen to the full interview with Schumer on “The Katie Couric Podcast” below.