One year after the controversy that rattled his public image, Aziz Anari is addressing the situation head-on.
During his surprise stand-up set at New York City's Village Underground on Monday night, the "Parks and Recreation" actor spoke candidly as he reflected on the messy allegation that went viral in early 2018. The account was written by a 23-year-old woman who said she went on a date with Ansari and willingly engaged in some sexual activity with him, but was deeply uncomfortable when it progressed further.
The woman's story generated polarizing responses, with many readers characterizing her account as a damaging misunderstanding of the #MeToo movement.
"After a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person,” Ansari told the sold-out crowd of a reported 200 people, according to Us Weekly. "If that [story] has made not just me but other guys think about this, and just be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing."
Although he was "really upset and humiliated and embarrassed," Ansari said he was primarily fixated on his accuser, saying, "Ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way."
RELATED: Aziz Ansari through the years
Aziz Ansari through the years
Aziz Ansari through the years
Aziz Ansari (Photo by Hal Horowitz/WireImage for Blender Magazine)
Aziz Ansari during Bonnaroo 2007 - Pre Festivities - David Cross & Aziz Ansari at Yet Another (Comedy) Tent in Manchester, Tennessee, United States. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic)
PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 30: Aziz Ansari performs at the Ice House Comedy Club on October 30, 2008 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - DECEMBER 03: Actor Aziz Ansari attends the JHRTS 6th annual 'Young Hollywood' holiday party at Opera and Crimson on December 3, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - APRIL 06: Actor Aziz Ansari arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Observe And Report' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on April 6, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/WireImage)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13: Actor and comedian Aziz Ansari visits the 'Late Show With David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on October 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O+BRIEN -- Episode 136 -- Pictured: Actor Aziz Ansari during an interview on January 8, 2010 (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 19: Actor Aziz Ansari arrives at the 'Parks And Recreation' Emmy Screening at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on May 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 06: Aziz Ansari speaks onstage at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards held at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios on June 6, 2010 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 11: Comedian/actor Aziz Ansari performs at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort on December 11, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/WireImage)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 19: Actor/Writer/Comedian Aziz Ansari attends VEVO's G.O.O.D. Music party at VEVO Power Station on March 19, 2011 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jay West/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20: Actor Aziz Ansari speaks onstage at the 13th Annual Young Hollywood Awards at Club Nokia on May 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Actor Aziz Ansari participates in 'Give a Spit About Cancer' PSA taping with DoSomething.org, DKMS and Be The Match on November 15, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage)
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 25: Comedian Aziz Ansari performs during the Moontower Comedy Festival at the Paramount Theatre on April 25, 2012 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/FilmMagic)
MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 08: Aziz Ansari performs in The Comedy Tent during the 2012 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on June 8, 2012 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Actor Aziz Ansari arrives at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/WireImage)
PARKS AND RECREATION -- 'Two Parties' Episode 510 -- Pictured: (l-r) Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford, Chris Pratt as Andy, Jim O'Heir as Jerry Gergich, Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger, Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10: Comedian Aziz Ansari performs onstage the WE HATE HURRICANES Comedy Benefit For AmeriCares at Club Nokia on December 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AmeriCares)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Aziz Ansari attends TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for TIME)
STUDIO CITY, CA - OCTOBER 16: Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Marietta Sirleaf, Michael Schur, Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Jim O'Heir, Aubrey Plaza and Rob Lowe attend the NBC 'Parks And Recreation' 100th Episode Celebration held at CBS Studios - Radford on October 16, 2013 in Studio City, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 12: Actor Aziz Ansari attends the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards nominations announcement on December 12, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
PARKS AND RECREATION -- 'One Last Ride' Episode 712/713 -- Pictured: Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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After the initial story was posted on Babe.net in January 2018, Ansari said that while he thought their encounter was fully consensual, he fully supported "the movement that is happening in our culture."
The highly-publicized fallout, he said, "gave me perspective on life."
During the height of the controversy, Ansari won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series for his Netflix show "Master of None." The show is expected to return for a third season, but production was paused indefinitely, with a Netflix exec saying in mid-2018 that they "would be happy to make another season of 'Master of None' whenever Aziz is ready."