Last night, Aziz Ansari took to the stage to discuss the sexual allegations aimed at him. While he promised that he has changed, he also proved that he hasn’t.
As it was painted across newspaper type, Aziz Ansari stepped back into the realm of comedy last night, apology in hand, and change of heart. This was a different Aziz. More woke, more decent, more, well, more of the same.
As the New York Times noted, “Aziz Ansari Addresses Sexual Misconduct Accusation During New York Set”, but the primary thing he addressed was himself. The importance of an apology, one that proves you’ve recognised your bullshit and moved beyond it, is empathy. A feeling for the other. A castigation of the old self, not for what you’ve felt, but rather what you’ve done. Addressing the issue (finally), Aziz stated that “…there were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way.”
He went further, stating that he feared the allegations would mean he wouldn’t be able to do comedy again, read: his job. That is really what is at risk here. It’s not that he totally recognises the cause and effect of his actions, which makes his following comments: “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,” rather hollow.
It’s ostensibly what Margaret Atwood said, in that men are afraid that women will laugh at them and women are afraid that men will kill them. The greatest risk for Aziz is his ability to book shows such as this one. It’s a removal of a revenue stream he can easily replace. Whereas for the woman in this situation, being coerced into sexual acts against her will is something far greater, and something far more important.
Aziz (and The New York Times) closed with this statement: “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.”
Aziz has not changed, and the above sentence proves it. The term “extra mile” is telling. It shouldn’t be effort, it should be a normal part of intersexual relationships, it shouldn’t be an extra anything. The “extra mile” Ansari is pacing sounds dangerously like a powerplay, something that he can use to repeat the same instance that put Aziz on that stage. Babe, I’ve gone the extra mile to ensure that you’re comfortable, now…
So, Aziz, keep your apologies. Dudes, pay no attention to the warm tones of his false apology. What Aziz still fails to understand, is the ease of it. It’s simple. If you want to have sex with someone, just ask. If they say no, say goodnight. Don’t say sorry if you don’t mean it, and don’t say you’ve changed when you haven’t.
If you want to do better, do it. But don’t be Aziz.