Samantha Bee on Aziz Ansari: Just because it's not rape doesn't mean it's not wrong

Okay, but you see, Ansari’s accuser *did* suggest that what he did was criminal, if not “rape.”

Grace says her friends helped her grapple with the aftermath of her night with Ansari. “It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault,” she told us. “I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that’s why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say, because I wanted validation that it was actually bad.”

If you’re going to lecture about people falsely accusing #MeToo supporters of confusing lesser misdeeds with serious sexual offenses, make sure your Exhibit A isn’t someone who confused a lesser misdeed with a serious sexual offense.

I’m going to cut Bee a break and assume that she taped this before seeing the mind-bogglingly nasty statement about Ashleigh Banfield released by the woman who wrote the Ansari piece for I can’t believe she would have singled out Banfield in the clip for not being “careful with [other women’s] feelings” when the babe writer was slashing at Banfield for being a “burgundy lipstick, bad highlights, second wave feminist has-been” just because she thought the babe piece undermined the important cause of #MeToo. Bee wouldn’t be that far in the tank. I think.

I’ll ding her for this, though:

From there, Bee moved on to the “Shitty Media Men” list, or as she called it “the Scaramucci of lists,” because of how fast it had to be taken down due to threats against the women outing their colleagues as predators…

“I’m sorry if [men] thought the contents of that list or any of the other ways we protect ourselves from men were your goddamn business,” Bee added. “I’m sorry you thought you got to choose what experiences we can share or how we react to the shitty ways we have been treated.”

You know what? If you’re named on a widely circulated anonymous list of alleged sexual malefactors that could jeopardize your career, I think it is your goddamn business. More to the point, I think it’s your goddamn lawyer’s business. It speaks volumes that Bee can’t see the “Shitty Media Men” list as anything more or less than a gesture of female empowerment. This line, later in her faux-apology spiel, speaks volumes too: “I’m sorry we tattled about that stuff you did on us even when it was totally not rape.” The public humiliation Ansari has spent the week dealing with, which Caitlin Flanagan compared to “revenge porn,” doesn’t seem to matter to her. Bee thinks #MeToo critics are grossly overstating the risk that minor misdeeds will be lumped in with serious crimes like rape. I agree. But she also seems to think they’re overstating the risk that a new ethic is being born where it’s not only okay to humiliate someone publicly if they made you uncomfortable during a date, it’s downright necessary. How else will men behave better if they don’t live in fear that their clumsiest moves, like “the claw,” might be ridiculed on a website because they misread their date’s reluctance as an invitation for more foreplay? It’s time to start “tattling” on the boys, whether they’re really guilty of anything or not.

And by the way, we have yet to hear Ansari’s side of all this apart from the statement he released a few days ago expressing remorse that “Grace” was uncomfortable during their date. Did he use “the claw”? Did he really refuse repeated requests to slow down and de-escalate? In many #MeToo cases there are many women alleging similar behavior by the accused, which enhances the credibility of each. In this case we’ve got one story by an anonymous woman who seemingly had to talk herself into the idea that Ansari had committed “sexual assault.” But by Bee’s logic, maybe it doesn’t matter if the story’s completely true or if parts are false. If the goal is to get men in general to behave better, sacrificing a celebrity here and there by “tattling” on him for may or may not have committed still advances the ball.