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Amy Schumer opened up about her friend Aziz Ansari’s recent sexual misconduct allegation for The Katie Couric Podcast Thursday, where she also addressed the #MeToo movement.
“I don’t think anyone wants to see Aziz’s career ruined or his life ruined or anything like that, but that’s where people’s minds go,” the comedian told Couric of the controversial claims against the Master of None star. “They go, ‘Does he deserve this?’ And it’s really not about that. I think it’s about expressing and showing women that that behavior is not OK, and not only can you leave, but you need to leave. Because then the women who come after you, you’re leaving a mark for them too.”
Early last month, an unnamed woman, identified only as a 23-year-old photographer based in Brooklyn, alleged that Ansari attempted to coerce her into sex without her consent while at his home. The woman later texted him to express how “uneasy” his behavior made her feel, and he apologized for misreading the situation. Ansari addressed the allegation, explaining that he “took her words to heart” and took the time to respond privately with her.
The allegation, made in an article on Babe.net, has become controversial with many women, including journalist Ashleigh Banfield, questioning whether what happened could indeed be considered sexual misconduct.
“He’s been my friend, and I really feel for the woman. I identify with all the women in these situations. Even if it’s my friend, I don’t go, ‘Oh, but he’s a good guy.’ I think, ‘What would it feel like to have been her?'”
Schumer, whose interview with Couric is part of the journalist’s “Wonder Woman” series in her podcast, also addressed the #MeToo movement, explaining the importance for women to stand up to anything that “makes them uncomfortable.”
“If you have a doctor that makes you uncomfortable, or you get a massage, or you have a date with someone and they coerce you in a situation like the Aziz one, I don’t think there’s any sort of criminal charge, but I think that it’s good for everybody to learn that that behavior’s not acceptable,” Schumer said. “It’s not a crime, but it’s not cool. And it can still really mess with a woman.”
Schumer also asserted that while it can be difficult to address, women must speak out in order for change to occur. “We just can’t let things continue the way they’ve continued, because there are so many different levels of it.”
The actress, who admitted to Couric that she was raped when she was a teenager, explained that every women has experienced some form of harassment and abuse. “But there are so many other kinds of sexual misconduct. We’ve all — every woman I know, every woman in this room — we’ve all had these experiences. And in this current climate, it brings these things up and you go, ‘God, none of that was OK.'”
Though a process, Schumer told Couric that she has noticed a change in men’s perspective. “A lot of the men in my life are open to self reflection and evolving, and I am.”
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