Does Aziz Ansari deserve a comeback?
via AP

Does Aziz Ansari deserve a comeback?

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Comedian Aziz Ansari went silent in January 2018 after a controversial Babe.net piece titled "I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life" was published. Ansari was recently spotted at the Comedy Cellar working on new material. Many are applauding his comeback, and say he never deserved exile in the first place. Others argue his aggressive sexual conduct makes him trash, and he should be kicked to the curb. Would you welcome the return of Aziz? 🗣️

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When the story was first published, there was a fierce argument over where to draw the line between sexual misconduct, coercion and assault. 

Aziz has a lot of support within the comedy community. Many say his behavior on that infamous date may have been inappropriate or even callous, but doesn't come close to sexual violence. Unlike Louis C.K., he did not harass or harm the careers of his fellow comedians. He doesn't deserve exile.

His fans say he was unfairly silenced.

And they argue that conflating Aziz's behavior with rape dilutes the power of the #MeToo movement.

The New York Times' Bari Weiss argued strongly for the comedian, saying he was really more sinned against than sinning.

There is a useful term for what this woman experienced on her night with Mr. Ansari. It’s called “bad sex.” It sucks.
But he had no actual power over the woman — professionally or otherwise. And lumping him in with the same movement that brought down men who ran movie studios and forced themselves on actresses, or the factory-floor supervisors who demanded sex from female workers, trivializes what #MeToo first stood for.

VICE's Manisha Krishnan agrees that, unlike Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, Aziz didn't commit acts of chilling violence or break the law—but his aggressive, pressuring behavior towards a much younger woman was unethical. The fact that it's a typical experience for women to feel pressured, cornered and harassed on dates doesn't make it okay, especially when Aziz has styled himself as a champion of women and an opponent of bro culture.

When I first read the story, I thought, This doesn’t seem that bad. Ansari’s behavior was gross, sure, but he also just sounded like a horny guy who has no game....Women are used to being treated like Ansari treated his date. While lots of women have been sexually assaulted, even more of us have been pressured into having sex when we didn’t really want to....The point of #MeToo should be to change our culture around sex and to hold people to a standard of decency beyond just what the law or a human resources department requires.
Ansari's critics say you don't have to rape someone to be a sexually aggressive scumbag and suffer professional repercussions for treating women like trash. People thought Aziz was one of the good guys, so of course his career suffered when this story came out. You don't have to be a rapist to enable rape culture.

Part of the problem surely has to be that Ansari seemed like a woke feminist when, as it turns out, he isn’t.

Ansari built a lot of his entertainment career on the perception that he was that guy, the one man in the room who got it. He was the one who would promote women’s equality and call out those men who still viewed women as second-class citizens. So, it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that a young woman wanted to go out with him and didn’t worry too much about going back to his apartment. You never expect that guy won’t respect your wishes, especially not when he’s a celebrity. But that’s apparently what happened.
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