I read the account of “Grace’s” bad date with Aziz Ansari in Babe. I read the entire thing in all its disgusting detail. I read it more than once. Having read the story, there are some things I won’t do.
I won’t call Aziz Ansari a rapist.
I won’t say what he did to Grace was “assault.”
I won’t call for him to lose his job or face any legal repercussions.
I also will not swallow his narrative of having “misunderstood” Grace’s discomfort or “misread” her behavior while ignoring his actual pattern of behavior in the story. I will not settle for this image of some poor clueless cad who just didn’t know any better. I will not write an alternate-universe story of All the Ways Grace Should’ve Fought Back Harder while ignoring all the ways Aziz made it inordinately difficult for her to withdraw.
I will not pretend not to notice the constant drumbeat of Aziz turning Grace’s every response into “so you’re saying I should fuck you right now?” I will not ignore the part where Grace tried to walk away and he kept following her. I will not ignore the parts where Aziz used the language of enthusiastic consent while his behavior demonstrated complete disregard for Grace’s wishes. I will not ignore the part where Aziz decided “second date” meant “I’ll pour you another glass of wine so we can fuck.”
I will not support this mythology of Grace giving consent to being treated like an advanced masturbation toy when she entered Aziz’s home. I will not cherry-pick all the parts where I don’t like how she responds to Aziz and decide this young woman reporting anonymously must have been some fame-whoring gold-digger to agree to a date with him at all.
Most of all, I will not disregard all the signs that Aziz knew exactly what he was doing. I will not wring my hands over the “humiliation” of a man who talks the right talk in public and then walks a totally different walk behind closed doors. I will not treat this man’s performance of feminist allyship like “that makes it all okay” rather than “he was supposed to be better than this.”
All that said? I will not rule out the possibility that Aziz can still do better and walk the walk as well as he talks the talk.
At the same time? Even if he never pulls this shit on another woman ever again, I don’t know how I can trust him after this.
The most distressing part, though, is that I don’t know how I’ll ever again be able to trust the people who are using the language of rape apologia on his behalf.