Aziz Ansari makes his first public appearance in months

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Aziz Ansari all but disappeared after being accused of sexual misconduct in January, but he’s slowly edging back out into the spotlight.

The Master of None star, 35, took in a Knicks game on Monday night, sitting courtside between Chris Rock and 2 Chainz. Nothing dramatic happened — just a few guys watching the game … and recording some Instagram Stories during breaks.

Aziz Ansari — sandwiched by Chris Rock and 2 Chainz — at the New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game at Madison Square Garden on April 9. (Photo: James Devaney/Getty Images)
Aziz Ansari popped up in Chris Rock’s Instagram Stories on Monday. (Image: Chris Rock via Instagram)

After the Knicks lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ansari and Rock went for a bite of sushi. That too was documented by Rock. (Ansari gave up social media last year.)

After the game, Aziz Ansari went out to eat with Chris Rock. (Image: Chris Rock via Instagram)

Ansari and Rock have been friends for several years — and have caught at least one Knicks game before. Friends are probably super important to Ansari after he recently found himself at the center of a national discussion. A woman, whom Ansari went on a date with in 2017, told about a sexual encounter they had in which she felt pressured — and that Ansari missed her “verbal and non-verbal cues” that she wanted him to stop. Although the woman, who was inspired to tell her story after seeing Ansari with a Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globes, viewed the incident as sexual assault, Ansari said he believed it was “completely consensual.” In his response to the allegation, he added, “It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”

The accusation against Ansari stirred up a debate about whether the #MeToo Movement had gone too far. Some called the article poor journalism. Some believed Ansari was unfairly humiliated. Some applauded the woman for furthering the dialogue about a controversial subject because it’s not a black-and-white issue.

While this debate took place, the comedian and actor dropped out of sight. According to Indie Wire, he was living “overseas.” His Master of None co-star Lena Waithe told the Independent that he was “doing good” and “in good spirits.” His former Parks and Recreation co-star Adam Scott echoed that sentiment.

Chris Rock and Aziz Ansari were also seated near Masters winner Patrick Reed and his wife, Justine Reed, at the Knicks game on April 9. (Photo: James Devaney/Getty Images)

If Ansari was overseas, he was back by April 2. That’s when he was photographed for the first time since the allegations. He was walking down a New York City sidewalk. It was a week before he made his first public appearance at last night’s game.

As for what will happen with Master of None, for which Ansari won Best Actor in a Comedy at the Globes? Waithe told the Independent she wasn’t sure. “I mean, I talk to Aziz and Alan [Yang, co-creator], but it’s the last thing that ever comes up in our conversations,” she said.

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