Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded not guilty during an arraignment on Tuesday to charges that he groped a woman at a New York nightclub and grabbed a woman's butt at a hotel the year before.
The Oscar-winning actor is facing four misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and forcible touching for gripping a 30-year-old woman’s breast during a night out at the Magic Hour Bar & Lounge atop the Moxy NYC Times Square hotel in Midtown. The second incident occurred on Oct. 24, 2018, where Gooding allegedly grabbed a woman’s rear at the Lower Manhattan hotspot TAO Downtown, according to The New York Daily News.
After the court hearing, his attorney downplayed the actor's actions as “a commonplace gesture” and compared the criminal case to the outcry over Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for allegedly having a history of being too touchy-feely with women.
“We are so surprised that this case is going forward and it is is only indicative of the hysterical and unusual environment and climate that exists to such an extent that a commonplace gesture is now perceived to be inappropriate,” Mark Jay Heller told reporters beneath the steps outside Manhattan Supreme Court. “We look to the example of condemnation of Vice President Joe Biden for touching the shoulder of a woman.”
Weeks before Biden announced his bid for the White House, he stood accused by former Nevada politician Lucy Flores of placing his hands on her shoulders and “smelling” her hair during a campaign event.
Other women then came forward accusing Biden of touching them inappropriately, according to The Washington Post.
Heller mentioned that second accuser’s charge against Gooding Jr. “was less credible than the first one.”
The attorney also demanded that the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance “release video of the second accuser’s claim” and pushed for each case to be tried separately because the actor’s “life has been put on hold for four months.”
Heller predicted that once a verdict is reached, Gooding Jr.’s case will be “a hallmark case for the “NotMe movement,” an apparent answer to the MeToo movement, which started a sea change of sexual victims going public with their stories.
“We are shocked and outraged and absolutely dumbfounded that the D.A.’s office has wasted the taxpayers’ money, resources and time in charging Cuba with these two incredulous cases,” he said.
A charging document filed by Manhattan prosecutors suggests there are 12 more accusers who plan to come forward to prove a pattern of untoward behavior by the actor dating back to at least five years ago when he was in Dallas, Albuquerque, and Los Angeles, according to The New York Times.
Unidentified victims allege in court documents filed by prosecutors that Gooding touched them on their private parts or licked them without consent.
One incident from 2007 involved Gooding attending a film event at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. The actor allegedly called a woman over to his table and tried to kiss her. While that woman managed to refuse the kiss, she claimed that he proceeded to lick her face and grab her butt without permission.
The following night, the same accuser said Gooding attempted to lick her closed lips, according to court filings cited by the Times.
Four years later in a Los Angeles bar, Gooding allegedly grabbed a woman's arm while she was heading to a restroom. The actor also allegedly stuffed his hand down her blouse and grabbed hold of her bare breast. The woman claimed that Gooding made another attempt to grope her until another patron interfered and told him to leave her alone, the Times reported.
Other claims included Gooding allegedly reaching under a woman's skirt to feel around her underwear, biting women on their shoulders, and shoving his pelvis against women.So far, none of the alleged previous 12 incidents have led to criminal charges.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.