Last week, babe.net published an anonymous woman’s account of her date with actor/comedian Aziz Ansari, who she says pressured her into uncomfortable and unwanted sex, failing to heed her “verbal and non-verbal cues.”
In response, the internet has produced wave after wave of takes. The Atlantic’s Caitlin Flanagan said the article was “3,000 words of revenge porn” and unfit for publication. Vox’s Anna North characterized Ansari’s behavior as common among all-too-many men, and thus worth discussing. The New York Times’s Bari Weiss wrote that if Ansari was guilty of anything, it was “not being a mind reader,” and fretted that this incident could tarnish the #MeToo movement. Reason’s own Elizabeth Nolan Brown thought both parties—as well as men and women in general—could benefit from more communication about sexual desires.
These are wildly different takes, and there are dozens more perspectives offered in The Washington Post, National Review, Jezebel, on Twitter, and elsewhere. But most of the takes have one thing in common: they explicitly reject the original article’s assertion that Aziz Ansari committed sexual assault. Ansari behaved badly, and there is much to be said about how he ignored his date’s wishes, thought only of himself, and expected sexual gratification at every turn. But he is not a rapist, most people seem to agree.