Actress Mindy Kaling defended Aziz Ansari late Friday after going to his show, arguing that she is a “champion of women,” but also a champion of her friend, saying the two are not “mutually exclusive.”
The actress and comedienne had posted a photo of a ticket to his new show with the caption: “Funniest shit ever.”
She went on to tell her fans in a string of Instagram posts that included this message: “I am a champion of women. I am also a champion of my friend and do not believe they are mutually exclusive.”
Floods of fans—and detractors—flocked to the post over its public show of support for Ansari, who publicly faced sexual misconduct allegations last year.
A Brooklyn photographer who said she went on a date with Ansari described their encounter in disturbing details and created a firestorm of reactions from some who felt that the woman was a victim—and others who felt that the post was unfair to Ansari. The allegations were anonymous and posted on the website Babe.net.
“Everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned,” Ansari said at the time. “I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”
But a year later, as Ansari tries to rehab his image, his defenders are themselves taking heat.
“Damn, this is disappointing,” one commenter wrote to Kaling. “I could get if you decided to go and privately support your friend but to then publicly endorse/rehab him kinda sucks.”
In response, Kaling said she believed “it would be more cowardly to be his friend and not come to his defense when people disparage him in public.”
Another commenter proclaimed that she would unfollow Kaling over it. “As a survivor, this is disheartening,” she wrote. “I believed you to be a champion of women.”
Kaling replied: “I am sorry to hear that. I am a champion of women. I am also a champion of my friend and do not believe they are mutually exclusive.”
“Obviously I don’t love responding to Instagram comments late on a Friday night but I’m a feminist and standing up for women is very important to me,” she continued. “I’m not rehabbing him [because] I think he did a fine job doing it himself.”