Cuba Gooding Jr. Says He Didn’t Intend to Exhibit ‘Sexual Misconduct’ When He Lifted Up Sarah Paulson’s Dress

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Cuba Gooding Jr. Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Last month, Cuba Gooding Jr. got himself involved in some controversy at PaleyFest when, during a panel for American Horror Story, he was photographed lifting up co-star Sarah Paulson’s dress. The picture circulated online with many accusing Gooding Jr. of sexual harassment. He now tells People the incident was a “very teachable moment” for him, adding that while his actions may have looked inappropriate, he didn’t mean for them to be. “That image was taken out to represent some kind of sexual misconduct, and that wasn’t my intent,” he says. “I love the lady that is Sarah Paulson. We have a banter like brother and sister, which is how the spirit of that whole panel was.” But after he saw the reaction online, Gooding Jr. spoke with Paulson and says she had no problem with him. “The first person, when I heard about the fervor, I called Sarah, I said, ‘I love you, I see you as my sister,’ and she said, ‘I feel the same way about you.’ And so I let it go.” But he also had a conversation with his two sons to make sure they don’t repeat their father’s mistakes: “I said, ‘The only thing you can do is represent your moral compass and who you are. Because images are going to be out there without your control, so continue standing in your integrity.’”

Cuba Gooding Jr. Defends Lifting Up Sarah Paulson’s Dress