If you’ve ever wondered how Cuba Gooding Jr. went from highly respected Academy Award-winning actor to the one-two sucker punch of starring in Snow Dogs AND Boat Trip in the span of just a few years, the recent accusations that he groped a woman while drunk at a bar may be just the clue you’re looking for. Cuba is wanted for questioning in regard to an incident that occurred on Sunday at one of his regular haunts. According to CNN:
The Oscar winner will be questioned on a forcible touching complaint filed by a 29-year-old woman who claims he grabbed her breast at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in Manhattan on Sunday.
The woman in the alleged incident told police she was with friends when she was confronted by a male patron whom she described as Gooding Jr., according to the law enforcement source.
“The male allegedly groped her breasts,” the source said. “The victim later told cops she protested at the unwanted touching and they argued about the encounter.”
The female left the bar and called 911 to report the alleged incident, according to the source, and NYPD Manhattan Special Victims Squad is investigating.
Parts of Cuba’s night on the town were recorded and he can be seen sloshed, surrounded by adoring fans, and drunkenly scream-singing Journey’s “Faithfully,” which is a crime in and of itself. There’s also video of him having an altercation with somebody who may or may not be his accuser. Cuba spoke directly to TMZ yesterday, proclaimed his innocence, and said he planned to cooperate with police. He also indicated that he believes there is security footage of the incident that shows “what really happened.” To his credit, he was very vocal (hoarse as he was. See what happens when you don’t pay Steve Perry the respect he’s due) about the importance of everybody having the right to “speak for themselves” and that he trusts the system. So at least he’s not blaming or trying to discredit his accuser, and he’s planning on presenting himself to the NYPD today.
Sadly, drunken spectacles caught on film have become all too commonplace for Cuba. He has a long history of documented debauchery. Sometimes it’s been simply embarrassing for everyone involved, like the time he walked around a Golden Globes afterparty wearing an upturned bucket of KFC for a hat.
But other times Cuba’s tied one on at the clerb have proven a lot more disturbing. At a Miami club, soon after the premiere of American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, Cuba was filmed doing a striptease in the middle of the dance floor. And then there was this.
At that same party, a Page Six article titled “Inside The Five-Year Party Also Known As Cuba Gooding Jr’s Life”, reports that Cuba was “getting ‘beyond frisky with girls,’ and handing out his hotel room key to comely clubgoers”. That weekend while he was hanging out poolside at a Miami hotel, a woman claimed “he kept grabbing beers and kissing my sunburn. It was really uncomfortable” and, if I may add, gross on many, many levels.
Over the years, he’s been filmed crashing a NYC Fashion Week party where he reportedly had his assistant running ragged fetching him drinks and women to meet, and was filmed presenting a Social Impact Award to designer John Varvatos, where he admitted “I’m drunk now, motherfuckers! Deal with it!” and opened with “Nothing says I love you like fucking sugar,” a riddle I’m still trying to wrap my head around to this day. There’s also this, and this.
As far back as 2013, Page Six reported that Cuba had even made up an alter ego for himself, introducing himself to a female party-goer as Dick McWilly and “incoherently explaining, ‘I had sex with a leprechaun, who had sex with an alligator and got him pregnant. No, I’m lying, the alligator wasn’t pregnant.’”. It’s a more original pickup line than others I’ve heard, I’ll give him that, but still infinitely more cringe-worthy than Shadowboxer at which I cringed so hard I almost turned myself inside out.
And those were just the private public moments of “oof” that just so happened to be caught on tape. More publicly, during PaleyFest in 2017, Cuba raised eyebrows when he lifted his AHS costar Sarah Paulson’s skirt during a live panel discussion.
So whether or not Cuba is ultimately charged with a crime over this most recent incident, it’s clear to me that Cuba has a problem. It’s not surprising that his once-promising career was punctuated with a starring role in the 2009 TV movie Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, a joke so fitting, it wrote itself.