Cuba Gooding Jr. lifted up Sarah Paulson’s dress in front of an audience

The Paley Center For Media's 34th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles - "American Horror Story: Roanoke"

Here are some photos of Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates and Cuba Gooding Jr. at the Paley Center over the weekend. They were there to do press for American Horror Story: Roanoke. Paulson and Gooding worked together on American Crime Story, and reportedly they were and are close friends because of that. So… with close friends, there are different rules, right? When you’re close friends with someone, you wouldn’t think too much about them putting their hands on you and behaving “inappropriately,” correct? Depending on your personal relationship with a work colleague, certain things might slide. So here’s my question: are Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding close enough where he gets a pass on lifting up her dress while they were on stage at the Paley Center?

You can see it in context in this video. With this angle, you don’t see what the audience saw, but you can see Sarah shrieking and pulling away:

It does seem like Gooding’s motion – or assault, or inappropriate contact, whatever you want to call it – seems apropos of nothing. Like, they weren’t in the midst of being silly with each other. It was during the introduction to Kathy Bates, for goodness sake. So… yeah, regardless of friendship, it was a completely inappropriate move and it actually comes across as very creepy and gross rather than playful. People are outraged about it online and on social media too. Considering it was a work event, Paulson has a good case for “hostile work environment.”

The Paley Center For Media's 34th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles - "American Horror Story: Roanoke"

The Paley Center For Media's 34th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles - "American Horror Story: Roanoke"

Photos courtesy of Getty and WENN.

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67 Responses to “Cuba Gooding Jr. lifted up Sarah Paulson’s dress in front of an audience”

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  1. Lexie says:


  2. Sam says:

    But why did he think it was necessary to do that?

  3. Greata says:

    When I think of Cuba, I think of wasted potential. He is now a joke.

  4. Melly says:

    Things women have to deal with in a professional environment. Ways women feel the need to react to inappropriate conduct by laughing it off. Sexual inappropriate behavior that will be written off as “silly” or “in good fun.”

    Reason 198,875,056 for why we march.

    • INeedANap says:

      And we have to laugh it off or else we “cause trouble” and aren’t “team players” so Heaven forfend we defend ourselves from assault.

      • Eleonor says:

        Sometimes a good laughing answer is the best way we have to protect us.
        once I was in tram, and it was full. It was january and cold as hell.
        I could not seat so I was there on my own, going to work. At a certain point I feel a hand on my butt. I wanted to scream but I thought that perve could have played the “this train is full” card and go away. So I took a deep breath and I hear me saying: “THE COLD SIR is not a good reason to warm your freaking hands on my butt”.
        People around started laughing and the perv escaped ASAP.

  5. manamoo says:

    He is totes a creep. My husband was staying at the same hotel as him in Barcelona eleven years ago. He had his guys comes down to invite all the ladies (no men) to his hotel room for a private party. Yuch.

  6. Jenns says:


    • derpshooter says:

      Yes. I mean, son, what are you even thinking? Just go away, Cuba, I can’t even look at you right now.

  7. Frisbee says:

    I’ve always wanted to use the American word ‘douche’ and noes as good a time as any? That was a power move designed to embarrass and belittle. I didn’t see anything friendly in that at all.

    • Desi says:

      You nailed it. Not only that, it’ll get twisted around that somehow he’s the victim, and Paulson will be forced to defend, excuse, and apologize for him.

      Say it with me, people: FRIENDS DO NOT DO THAT. Jesus. *smh

  8. slowsnow says:

    She was doing fake cheerleading, moved her legs, he saw the fabric underneath or spanx or something and decided to investigate as he would have done in private. Some women have male friends with whom they are at ease with nudity or underwear.
    However, it does not seem the appropriate setting for it. But in these kinds of environments (theatre. dance, fashion) people often are more physical with each other.
    I didn’t like it, but there are much more important issues than Cuba DJ not knowing when to display and when to not display his close friendship with his female friends for me to worry about.

    Edit: it does look like one of those things men keep doing to us on a regular basis at work doesn’t it? Stuff we keep thinking about and cringe over all our lives. But it still could be that they are at ease with each other.

    • Alleycat says:

      Here’s the thing about life, you can be concerned about multiple things at the same time. From big things that concern the whole world to tiny things that just impact you. So no, I’m not going to dismiss a woman being sexually harassed in a work environment.

    • Desi says:

      “But in these kinds of environments people often are more physical with each other.”

      Please be joking.

      • slowsnow says:

        Yes, I understand you reaction to my post, which I also had thus the edit. This is so ingrained in me – I worked in a context when men have a behaviour like this and it gets dismissed because the men are usually wealthy, clients and powerful.
        It does leave a strange impression of – horrible, crying-in-the-bathroom -deja vu to me, hence my re-thinking of it.
        At the same time, in my work environment, some women/men relationships are quite physical almost on a nudity level, especially when gay men or women are friends with the opposite sex. I was wondering if it could be that.
        But clearly, in front of an audience, it’s not.
        But thanks for the reality check. Casual abuse is so intrinsically part of our/my culture, unfortunately.

    • jenn12 says:

      So yanking up her very long skirt to expose what was underneath without her consent and in front of many people doesn’t beep your radar enough for you to worry about? FFS

  9. Anilehcim says:

    He becomes increasingly horrifying and disgusting with every public appearance.

  10. SM says:

    Idiot. And she just had to swallow it and proceed like nothing happened. Just like most women do in situations like that

    • someone says:

      Many of us women, unfortunately laugh it off. She needed to call him out and get an apology right there and then. I feel offended on her behalf. Felt the same when Halle Berry was kissed on stage, without her consent.

      • jenn12 says:

        YES. I totally agree. Call him out right there on the stage. These jokes are not jokes- they’re assaults.

  11. Veronica says:

    Had a guy do this to me while I was walking down the street with a large group of friends on a very busy Friday night in the party district of my city (literally yanked it all the way past my bra so my entire body was exposed – thank God I’d had the foresight to wear underwear, despite it being a tight dress). I don’t know why he thought it was even vaguely appropriate – I had literally just met him a few hours ago, and we only knew each other through the proxy of my close girlfriends. Men are just raised to have an outrageous sense of entitlement to female bodies, especially if they have the excuse of being dressed “provocatively.”

    • saygoodnightgracie says:

      No, men are NOT raised to have an outrageous entitlement to women’s bodies. How can you even make a blanket statement like that? The man in your case was just being a dickhead and thought it would be funny to embarrass you. It’ wasn’t ok for him to do that but to make a statement against ALL MEN and accusing them of ALL being entitled to womens’ bodies is just plain stupid.

      • jenn12 says:

        + a billion. No one has the right to touch another person or expose them without permission. It’s disrespectful at a low reaching best.

      • derpshooter says:

        Well, some men ARE raised that way. Where do you live? I live in the southern part of the US. There are many good things about living here. The way the average man is raised is not one of them.

      • Naddie says:

        I could be wrong, but she’s only telling what happened and why it happened, in her point of view. Now, can we stop pretending that this kind of behavior is not cultural, or demanding every woman to put the words “some men”, or “not all men” whenever she’s talking about sexism?

      • Desi says:

        The fundamental point, saygoodnightgracie, is that it’s a LOT of men. Let’s not kid ourselves.

        You could argue that, in general, boys aren’t necessarily “raised” to be ass-grabbing pigs, but they certainly don’t have to look very hard for societal justification after the fact.

        Take your average high school dress code, for example. Teenaged boys nationwide hear the message CONSTANTLY that girls “dress with intent” to attract and distract their male classmates.

        So while probably the majority of young men wouldn’t act on it, you can’t really argue they aren’t being “raised” with a sense of entitlement over how women are permitted to look in certain situations. Because they most DEFINITELY are.

        Which goes hand in hand with the fact that girls are conditioned in about 1,000 different ways to accept and excuse it when males act on that message.

  12. Nikki says:

    Do we really have to say this is inappropriate??? I live for the day every female reacts to this type of behavior instantly with outrage, voiced clearly and confidently. No, this is not ok.

  13. kate says:

    Oh look, Trump’s new Secretary of Health!

  14. saygoodnightgracie says:

    Doesn’t seem to have bothered Sarah Paulson. If it didn’t bother her, why should it bother you? If she’s not angry about it, why are you angry about it? Do you all spend your days trying to find something to be offended over when the “victim” isn’t offended at all?? If so, you desperately need a life. Sheesh!

    • paranoid android says:

      Angry man detected.

    • Gracey says:

      That’s sort of the point about workplace harassment. You have to smile and suck it up in order to stay a ‘team player’ and not be labelled a shrew. But that doesn’t stop activists (or, preferably, an HR manager) from speaking up on your behalf!

    • mkyarwood says:

      She had to do what she had to do, to keep the show going. I doubt she was okay with it.

    • Jag says:

      How do you know she wasn’t angry about it? Because she laughed and smiled? I’m going to guess that you have never been in that situation then, because many of us have had to do just that in order to keep our jobs – or in my case – to get out of two doctors’ offices and one physical therapist’s office! Once when I was around 12 years old, it was my pediatrician who lifted my shirt to stare at my B cup chest when I was there for a painful abdomen. (He put it back down after an uncomfortable amount of time of him just staring. I never went back.) Once when my cardiologist decided to fondle my breast while I was just standing there. And once when I kept falling asleep on the table at my physical therapist’s and he thought it was a good time to grope my chest twice; thus, waking me up each time. It is not okay what Cuba did, nor is it okay what those men in power over me did, either!

    • HappyMom says:

      And what do you think her irritation or embarrassment would have looked like in that moment? It was a rude thing to do-not funny.

    • Desi says:

      If you apply the “it didn’t bother her, so why should it bother you?” standard to an array of different situations, it becomes clear how silly, not to mention dangerous, that argument is.

      Never mind that everyone else had to watch it happen, the second you ask that question, you pull all the responsibility onto HER. She is now expected to make everyone ELSE feel better about it.

      A victim seldom says, from the inside looking out, “it didn’t bother me, so why should it bother you?” That’s something predators and their apologists say.

  15. Sage says:

    She did not expect him to do that. So very inappropriate and disgusting.

    Cuba has been on a downward spiral for years. I do wonder, when will he hit rock bottom?

  16. jenn12 says:

    WTF?? Seriously, what is wrong with this man?

  17. Tough Cookie says:

    Creepy and inappropriate.

  18. Gracey says:

    Just imagine if he had been extending an enthusiastic welcome to Al Pacino (or another industry luminary) and for no reason whatsoever Paulson had lifted up his jacket, exposing his belly. It would be front page news as the weirdest thing that ever happened ever.

  19. Mia4s says:

    There have been enough stories about him over the years that reading about him acting like an inappropriate twit is the least surprising thing to happen this week.

    Is he divorced yet? I still remember hearing how much his poor soon to be ex-wife put up with.

  20. D says:

    A guy did that to me once and I reacted pretty much the same as she did. I laughed, but it was a nervous laughter, I was afraid that if I started yelling at him (like I wanted to do) he would get aggressive, maybe even violent. I mean there are so many cases of men getting aggressive when women don’t go along with their advances. This is why we need feminism.

    • Naddie says:

      That’s why I hate with all of my heart when some stupid says it’s up to us to react, if we want this to stop. I’ve been there too and my fear of being shattered to pieces spoke louder, so I had to swallow it down.

  21. Bxhal says:

    This guy and Terrence Howard gross me out. Why do they keep getting jobs with their many incidents of sexist, abuse against women? #ugh!

  22. dave says:

    Should have slapped him one across the face.

  23. Lucy2 says:

    I wish she’d hauled off and smacked him, but so many of us would react as she did. He is wholly inappropriate and offensive.
    I’ve heard sort of third hand from that set that he is awful and acts like a diva. Ryan Murphy needs to stop hiring him. I know he’s loyal to his actors, but Cuba was the weakest part of the OK series, and does not conduct himself in a professional manner.

  24. Amanda DG says:

    Definitely inappropriate no matter the environment or the friendship.

  25. Moonstone says:

    Very mature!

  26. MrsPanda says:

    What a jerk! It looked like he was curious about the layers under her dress and simply felt entitled to check it out and lift it up in front of the audience. It reminds me of a story Kathy Griffin told, of when Ryan Seacrest ripped off her shirt on live TV when they were co-presenting at some awards show). She had to continue on and pretend it was part of the ”bit” but she was mortified. I’d be so pissed off!!

  27. Joanie says:

    Looks like he’s drinking again.

  28. Jenn says:

    That was goddamn disgusting.
    Wish she would’ve punched his face. Reminds me of what Adrian Brody did to Halle Berry. These type men just think any woman’s body is theirs for claiming. Sickening.

  29. Jerkface says:

    He is a raging alcoholic. And a dork.

  30. Dex and Destruction says:

    This is exactly something that vile Ukrainian “prankster” Vitalii Sediuk would do. Gross.

  31. outoftheshadows says:

    Can we get a meme of Holland Taylor bitch-slapping him please?

  32. T-Rasha says:

    She lifted KB’s coat. He ‘tried’ to be funny and lift her dress’ bad joke that he will have to pay for.
    Get over it.
    This site picks up any freaking nonsense on the internet. Boring.

  33. EX says:


    *My first reaction when i read the headline, read the story, and saw the picture*

    Disgu! Disgu! Disgu!