Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cuba Gooding and Sarah Paulson: Inappropriate?

One of my favorite comedians was the English humorist and variety show host Benny Hill. A regular show gag was the extent to which men would go to get a gander at women. It didn't much matter whether the women were partially dressed or completely undressed (the latter was never shown on the show-just implied). Men just liked to look. Men would make utter fools of themselves doing so. This was all done for laughs. Hill's brand of admittedly oft puerile humor fell out of style in the eighties with an ascendant feminist movement. Recently the actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Paulson touched on this style of humor when, at an event for American Horror Story, Gooding attempted to lift up Paulson's dress. 

At the time of this post I don't know if this was a spontaneous prank on Gooding's part, something pre-planned by both Gooding and Paulson, or some sort of in character reference to their roles on the show. Paulson didn't appear to take offense. She just slapped Gooding's hands away. But we live in the age of the internet and twitter so of course there were plenty of people who rushed to take offense on Paulson's behalf.







This isn't something I would ever ever do in public even if I knew good and well that the woman would be okay with it. It's not classy imo, but everyone is different. My initial thought is that if Paulson didn't have a problem with Gooding's actions then no one else should either. Consent is key. And context matters. Actors live and work in different environments than everyone else. James Caan and Robert Duvall mooned their hero and acting icon Marlon Brando during filming of The Godfather. Brando not only returned the favor but upped the ante by mooning the extras. We have no idea about what sort of work relationship Gooding and Paulson have or what sort of things they or the show writers consider to be funny. Not everything that occurs in life can or should be judged by the HR standards of Megacorp, Inc. That said if you do happen to be one of the 320 million people in the country who is not a well paid Oscar winning actor I wouldn't advise running around trying to lift up co-worker's dresses. It probably won't end well for you.


What's your take?

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