Comedian and actor Joel McHale has sounded off on Aziz Ansari’s sexual harassment allegations, and he thinks people are being too quick to condemn the “Master of None” creator. Ansari has been accused of pushing the boundaries of consent during by an anonymous 23-year-old woman. In an essay published in Babe, the woman said she and the actor went on a date last year that “turned into the worst night of my life” when he continued to initiate sexual contact after she expressed discomfort multiple times.
“It was probably just a really bad date,” McHale said in a video interview with TMZ. He appeared initially flustered by the question, but responded nonetheless. He continued:
“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 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.”
The claims against Ansari have been the most divisive to come out of the Me Too moment thus far, with actors and pundits waffling about the seriousness of the allegations. Part of that is due to the shoddy reporting in the Babe piece, which incorporated stylistic flourishes and very few sources.
In a powerful segment on “Full Frontal,” Samantha Bee said: “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.”
When asked whether he thought James Franco, who has also been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment, should attend the Academy Awards this year, McHale said: “Is he nominated? Let’s wait for the nominations.”