During a past interview with The Daily Beast, uber-progressive comic Aziz Ansari ranted about the rampant sexism which exists in America and the importance of talking to women about their experiences and believing them. Then, during the same interview, the comedian was asked about comedian Louis C.K., a mentor of his, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. Ansari refused to respond.
In a piece published on Friday, reporter Marlow Stern recalled his interview with Ansari in 2015. "There was only one question that he refused to answer," said Stern, referring to his Louis C.K. inquiry.
"Midway through the interview, the topic of sexual harassment came up," said Stern. "The seventh episode of his show, titled 'Ladies and Gentlemen,' sees Dev (Ansari’s character) and his pal Denise (Lena Waithe) making a citizen’s arrest after catching a middle-aged man masturbating on the subway. Dev then proceeds to take a victory lap, bragging about the incident to his other female friends, who subsequently brand him a 'masturbation vigilante' before sharing their own sexual harassment horror stories."
Ansari explained that the episode was inspired by real-life stories from women: “The seed of that episode came from a bit during my Madison Square Garden special where I’d talk about women getting followed home by creepy dudes, and I’d ask during the bit, ‘Raise your hands if you’re a woman and you’ve been followed home,’ and everyone would raise their hand. And then all the other women would look around and go, ‘What the f***?!’ Then, I’d ask all the guys if they expected all the women to raise their hands, and none of them really did. They couldn’t believe it," said the comic.
Sexism and sexual harassment are rife in modern-day America though "so many people are unaware of it," claimed Ansari.
"And the problem is people aren’t talking about it," he said. "What I’ve learned, as a guy, is to just ask women questions and listen to what they have to say. Go to your group of female friends and ask them about times they’ve experienced sexism at their job, and you’ll get blown away by the things they tell you. You’ll think, ‘What the f***? This is way darker than anything I’d imagined.’”
But, oddly, his tone drastically changed when he was asked, in the same interview, about his mentor and blue comic Louis C.K.
"I then proceeded to ask him about the sexual misconduct allegations against Louis C.K., a sometime mentor of Ansari’s," said Stern.
"I'm not talking about that," Ansari "brusquely" answered Stern.
Louis C.K. has been accused of making numerous women watch him masturbate against their will:
According to The New York Times, C.K. has a nasty habit of masturbating before unsuspecting women. In 2002, C.K. allegedly asked two female comediennes, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, to come to his hotel room, then proceeded to get naked and masturbate in front of them. That wasn’t his only self-love session: in 2003, Abby Schachner alleges she could hear C.K. masturbating on the phone as they spoke; in 2005, Rebecca Corey alleges that C.K. asked her if he could pleasure himself in her presence (she said no). A fifth woman said that she acceded to a similar request from C.K. Louis C.K.’s publicist refused comment to the Times.
The juxtaposition of these two responses by Ansari is rather hard to reconcile. Are we supposed to immediately take all accusations from allegedly harassed women as fact, or not? Does this allegedly progressive standard somehow not apply to our friends?