Trigger warning: This piece details a womanâ€™s account of sexual coercion and contains discussion of sexual assault.
One year ago this month, Babe.net published a womanâ€™s account of a date with Aziz Ansari gone horribly awry. In the exposÃ©, â€œGraceâ€� detailed dozens of attempts by Ansari to coerce her into sex after verbally and nonverbally rejecting his advances. The 3,000-word piece stood as a testament to how far men will go to ignore the discomfort of women and proved that even the most vocal supporters of womenâ€™s bodily autonomy are willing to disregard consent behind closed doors. Graceâ€™s story forced us to reckon with the hard truth that beloved feminist allies arenâ€™t immune to the toxicity of rape culture.
Graceâ€™s story was soon torn apart by social media users, cultural commentators, and major publications. Grace wasnâ€™t assertive enough; she was minimizing the severity of sexual assault; or she was attempting to unfairly smear Ansari. Since Graceâ€™s experience was in the â€œgray areaâ€� of consent, the subsequent cultural conversation was messy and largely unsympathetic. To reference an article from the New York Times, it wasnâ€™t sexual coercionâ€”it was simply â€œbad sex.â€�
In a landscape where men like Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar are easily identifiable villains, the #MeToo movement struggled to reckon with the Ansariâ€™s and Louis C.K.â€™s of the world. Their behavior was bad, but it wasnâ€™t that bad. Of course, framing sexual assault in this way assumes that sexual coercion is binary rather than a spectrum of experiences. When we tell survivors that they must be this victimized to ride, we do a disservice to all victims.
Unfortunately, concerns over Ansariâ€™s reputation dominated discussions about his bedroom behavior. Days after the article went live, people began asking about Ansariâ€™s comeback. Caitlin Flanagan published a story in the Atlantic, arguing that â€œa whole country full of young women who donâ€™t know how to call a cabâ€� had unfairly â€œdestroyed a man who didnâ€™t deserve it.â€� Flanagan and others were too interested in turning Ansari into a victim to consider Graceâ€”the actual victim.
As we now know, Ansari, like so many other predatory men in Hollywood, is doing just fine. While Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are facing criminal investigations, this type of retribution is notably rare and typically reserved for the most blatant offenders. To highlight the lack of accountability that most men in Hollywood face, we have compiled a non-extensive list of menâ€™s careers that have reportedly been â€œruinedâ€� by the #MeToo movement.
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