Can’t Trust Anyone: Aziz Ansari Edition

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.

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What about all the women we never heard of?

For all the dudes who are concerned about the backlash against sexual harassment, I have some questions I’d like you to ask yourselves:

If a man getting fired is comparable to murder, what about when someone is so miserable at work, they resign without another offer lined up? Is that suicide?

If a woman ends up leaving a job and ultimately gives up her career because the never-ending parade of abuse is fucking up her mental health, would you say she’s been driven to suicide?

Would you be interested in at least a partial accounting (a full accounting may be impossible) of all the people in the entertainment industry whose stories you never heard because they were still obscure and powerless when they were driven to career suicide? If the termination of someone like Harvey Weinstein or Louis CK is a tragedy of lost productivity, then are you willing to estimate the lost productivity of all the people who never got a chance to build the career they wanted because they couldn’t make it past the hurdle of sexual abuse?

For every Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino, who knows how many promising talents never made it that far before some powerful predator killed their careers? Does their wasted potential count for anything in this discussion of the “brain drain” following sexual harassment accusations?

Or does the equation of job loss with death only count for powerful men?