In January, an anonymous woman who went on a date with Ansari, 35, accused him of sexual behavior that she classified as assault but he called consensual in a controversial article published on Babe.net that sparked a public conversation regarding the nuances of the #MeToo movement.
Speaking to Vulture on Sunday, Retta, 48, said she didn’t think the story should have garnered as much attention as it did.
“I feel like a lot of people and a lot of other outlets were like, ‘Why did you even run this story?’ “she said. “I’m giving my personal opinion, and I don’t want f—ing people coming at me. You know what I mean? But I feel like I’ve been on that date so many times. I was like, ‘If you haven’t been on that date twice, are you even living a life?’ “
The woman, a 23-year-old Brooklyn photographer, recounted her allegations under the pseudonym “Grace.” She alleged that after meeting Ansari at an Emmy Awards afterparty in September 2017, they exchanged numbers and eventually went on a date, which she called “the worst of my life.” After a meal, she said they returned to his apartment, where she alleged that Ansari behaved coercively and that several sexual acts occurred though she was “physically giving off cues that [she] wasn’t interested.”
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Retta said she wouldn’t judge Grace because she doesn’t know her, but said she “didn’t appreciate” the allegation.
“I know personally — I had this conversation specifically with one of my good girlfriends, and she was like, ‘I don’t know how this is a story. I didn’t get it.’ I don’t want to get into it,” she said. “I didn’t like it. Because I’m the first person to be like, ‘F— that motherf—er. He’s an a—hole. He’s a f—ing a—hole.’ And I didn’t think he was an a—hole and I didn’t appreciate it.”
In response to the allegation, Ansari issued a statement at the time acknowledging they went on a date and ended up engaging in sexual activity afterwards, which he said “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 continued. “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.”
“I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture,” he added. “It is necessary and long overdue.”
Ansari has not publicly commented further on the matter. Most recently, his Master of None costar Lena Waithe addressed the allegation in her Vanity Fair April cover interview, stressing the importance of sexual consent.
“At the end of the day, what I would hope comes out of this is that we as a society … educate ourselves about what consent is — what it looks like, what it feels like, what it sounds like,” said Waithe, 34. “I think there are both men and women who are still trying to figure it out.”
“We need to be more attuned to each other, pay more attention to each other, in every scenario, and really make sure that, whatever it is we’re doing with someone else, they’re comfortable doing whatever that thing is, and that we’re doing it together,” she continued. “That’s just human kindness and decency.”