You’re likely aware of the incident but as a refresher – Cuba Gooding Jr. recently sparked significant criticism early last week when the cast of American Horror Story: Roanoke gathered at the Palyfest for a panel discussion about the hit series.
During the panel, as Sarah Paulson was greeting co-star Kathy Bates, Gooding Jr. lifted up Paulson's skirt in front of the audience.
There was a big response on social media and the actor has since responded to the outrage, saying what he did was a 'very teachable moment'.
Speaking to People at the FX All-Star Upfront in New York City on Thursday, he said: “I have two sons in college … and I say to them, ‘Guys, the internet, it’s a beast. It’s an information highway without regulation. Any image you put on there can be interpreted any way it wants to.”
Gooding Jr. said he has nothing but love for Paulson, who he also co-starred with on American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson. He reflected on how he sees Paulson as a sister (which goes some of the way towards explaining the juvenile and thoughtless nature of the gesture).
“I love the lady that is Sarah Paulson,” he explained. “We have a banter like brother and sister, which is how the spirit of that whole panel was.”
“Yet that image was taken out to represent some kind of sexual misconduct, and that wasn’t my intent,” he continued. “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.”
Gooding Jr. also talked about living morally and teaching his sons to do likewise: “I said to my sons again, 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.’”