Something that you usually would only see from a ill-mannered six-year-old on a playground happened on a stage in Hollywood this weekend, courtesy of Cuba Gooding Jr.
At an event for American Horror Story: Roanoke at PaleyFest L.A., the actor decided it would be hilarious to play a bizarre prank (for lack of a better word) on his unsuspecting co-star. The thing is, nobody else found it very funny.
Photos and videos from the beginning of the event show Gooding Jr. lifting up the skirt of Sarah Paulson's dress from behind her. Paulson was greeting co-star and good friend Kathy Bates, who had just walked onstage. In the still photos, it looks like Paulson is laughing it off or even playing along. But footage of the unsettling incident (see below) makes it very clear that Paulson was distracted laughing and giving an animated hello to Bates — and the second she realized what Gooding Jr. was doing, she slapped his hand down.
Gooding Jr.'s behavior was gross and inexplicable, and people are calling him out on it. "So not okay. A man doing that to a woman is shameful," someone wrote. "Um... so is @cubagoodingjr allowed to get away with lifting @MsSarahPaulson skirt at @paleycenter? Total disrespect to a woman," reads another tweet. "@cubagoodingjr hi, dude. did you apologize to Sarah? you should if you didn't bc what you did was Gross and Disrespectful," griped another critic. Somebody pointed out, "Cuba Gooding Jr. has just embarrassed himself at
#AHS Paleyfest. This is junior high behavior. Leave the women alone."
Some people will say it was a playful moment between good friends and colleagues. But common decency prevails whether you know the person or not. Exposing a woman's body in public, against her will, is never okay, nor is it funny. Think about it: this kind of behavior would be condemned as sexual harassment in any office. The fact that Gooding Jr. is a celebrity or that Paulson tried to minimize the incident (given that they were on a stage in front of a massive audience) doesn't change that one bit. Hands to yourself — and grow up, dude.