Aziz Ansari was a no-show at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, in the wake of a recent web article that accused the actor of inappropriate sexual conduct. Ansari was nominated this year in the category of outstanding male actor in a comedy, but the “Master of None” creator/star was not in the room as the nominees were read.
Ansari’s absence comes after an anonymous 23-year-old woman told Babe that she and the actor went on a date last year that “turned into the worst night of my life” when he initiated sexual contact after she expressed discomfort.
Ansari likely wanted to avoid any questions about the current controversy surrounding allegations that he coerced a woman into a sexual act, although he did appear at the Critics Choice Awards last week, which took place on Jan. 16, after the story had already posted.
In response, Ansari said that he believed their sexual activity was “by all indications was 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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
The story has become controversial, however, as some in the media — including MSNBC anchor Ashleigh Banfield — have suggested that it may have muddied the waters in the #MeToo movement. But Samantha Bee, on the most recent episode of her TBS show “Full Frontal,” responded to the backlash by pointing out that “any kind of sexual harassment, or coercion, is unacceptable.”
“We know the difference between a rapist, a workplace harasser, and an Aziz Ansari, that doesn’t mean we have to be happy about any of them,” said Bee. She urged “setting a higher standard for sex that isn’t just ‘not rape.’ And women get to talk about it if men don’t live up to those standards.”
Ansari was nominated in the Male Actor in a Comedy Series category, which also included Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”), Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”), William H. Macy (“Shameless”) and Marc Maron (“GLOW”). Macy won the award.