Cuba Gooding Jr. said Thursday that lifting up Sarah Paulson’s skirt during a panel last month was misinterpreted as “sexual misconduct.” The two “American Horror Story” co-stars hashed out the matter in a phone call after social media users criticized the move.
“I love the lady that is Sarah Paulson,” Gooding told People at the FX All-Star Upfront in New York City. “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,” the Oscar winner 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 added that he used the ensuing controversy as a “teachable moment” for his sons, who are in college, about how images can be misinterpreted on the internet.
The incident happened March 26 during an “AHS” screening and panel at Los Angeles’ PaleyFest. As Paulson greeted co-star Kathy Bates, Gooding lifted up Paulson’s dress from behind, generating a discussion on the internet.