Cuba Gooding Jr Says Sarah Paulson Skirt-Lift Was ‘Misinterpreted on a Sexual Level’ (Video)

“I respect her for the actress and the lady that she is,” actor says of his “People v. O.J. Simpson” costar

If he lifted the skirt, was he being a flirt?

Cuba Gooding Jr. is attempting to acquit himself, after drawing criticism for lifting his “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” co-star Sarah Paulson’s skirt during a Paleyfest panel, telling Extra that the moment was “misinterpreted on a sexual level.”

Saying that he and Paulson have “a very playful banter,” Gooding — who played O.J. Simpson opposite Paulson’s Marcia Clark on the hit FX series — added, “I respect her for the actress and the lady that she is and you know we … in that instance of us ribbing and playing with us it was misinterpreted on a sexual level, which was horrible.”

Nonetheless, Gooding said, when the online backlash came to his attention, “I immediately sent her a bunch of texts and she said ‘I love you too.'”

Gooding gave Paulson the wardrobe lift in late March during a panel for the FX series “American Horror Story: Roanoke,” which the pair also co-starred on.

Online reaction was harsh, with one critic of Gooding tweeting, “What happened to Sarah Paulson yesterday at #PaleyFest was so disrespectful and definitely NOT OK or funny” and another wondering, “How would @cubagoodingjr react if a man walked up to his daughter, Piper and lifted her dress up behind her back? #itsneverok.”

Watch Gooding discuss the outrage in the video.