American Horror Story actor Cuba Gooding Jr. has responded to the incident that happened at PaleyFest L.A. last month. The 49-year-old was on stage along with the rest of the AHS: Roanoke cast when he lifted up actress Sarah Paulson's skirt. Immediately, the internet was ablaze with people calling out the actor for publicly humiliating and sexually harassing his costar.
"I'm going to give you a chance to explain yourself," one fan wrote on Twitter. "What on earth possesed [sic] you to lift up a lady's skirt in public?"
On Thursday night the actor finally responded to the backlash while speaking with People at the FX All-Star Upfront in New York City.
The star told the outlet that the incident was "a very teachable moment." However, he didn't learn the lesson you might think.
"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,'” he said.
According to Gooding, the problem is not that he lifted up Paulson's skirt, but that the picture was taken completely out of context.
"I love the lady that is Sarah Paulson," he continued. "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."
After it happened and he heard about the outrage, Gooding said he immediately called his costar to set the record straight.
"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."
The star believes that since he knew his true intentions, he just needed to stay strong in the face of outrage.
"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.'"
That's an important thing to keep in mind, but a good rule of thumb would also be to, you know, not do things like lift up women's skirts without their permission in general.