‘SNL’ sketch shows uncomfortable talks about Aziz Ansari allegations
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many people are finding it difficult or uncomfortable to have painful — but necessary — discussions about sexual assault, harassment and other forms of abuse.
The movement has led to powerful men in many industries — Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, to name a few — being ousted from their positions because of the strong people who were brave enough to come forward with their stories.
But there is one subject whose allegations have raised a public debate over what the #MeToo movement stands for and what actions constitute actual abuse: actor and comedian Aziz Ansari.
Ansari, who created and starred in the Netflix series “Master of None,” was the subject of a story on the little-known website Babe.net. The story was titled, “I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life.”
In it, a woman using the pseudonym Grace details her encounter with Ansari, when they met at an Emmy Awards after-party in 2017. Grace said they flirted, exchanged numbers and planned a date later that week.
After their dinner date, Grace said Ansari invited her back to his apartment nearby, which she accepted. Shortly after they entered the apartment, Grace said he started acting sexually aggressive toward her.
Grace said she “used verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was,” but said he kept initiating the encounter.
Once she left the apartment, Grace said she “felt violated. That last hour was so out of my hand.” In a statement, Ansari confirmed the date, said he previously apologized to the woman and voiced his support for the movement.
Since the story went viral across social media, discussions have been raised over whether what Ansari allegedly did was considered a form of sexual assault.
In an attempt to shed some light — and humor — on the situation and the conversations that have stemmed as a result, “Saturday Night Live” brought on veteran Will Ferrell to show how uncomfortable it can be to talk about the Ansari allegations.
The sketch showed Ferrell, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett and Heidi Gardner sitting around a restaurant table, enjoying a relaxing dinner, when Gardner asks if they’ve read a New York Times op-ed about Ansari.
In the article, titled “Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader,” columnist Bari Weiss argued that Grace could have walked out the door at any point if she felt uncomfortable.
“If you are hanging out naked with a man, it’s safe to assume he is going to try to have sex with you,” it read. “If the failure to choose a pinot noir over a pinot grigio offends you, you can leave right then and there.”
Almost immediately after Gardner poses the question, everyone at the table clams up and gets visibly uncomfortable.
However, Ferrell decides that it is time to talk about Ansari, so McKinnon steps up to try and give her thoughts on the situation. But in an effort to avoid saying “the wrong thing,” she doesn’t actually say much.
In fact, no one at the table really says much — until Bennett brings up a point similar to the one argued in that Times’ op-ed, which does not go well.
The sketch perfectly encapsulated how difficult it can be to talk about these situations and resonated with many people on social media.