The Oscar-winner tells PEOPLE at the FX All-Star Upfront in New York City on Thursday that the firestorm that erupted on social media following the circulation of images of him lifting Paulson’s skirt during a PaleyFest panel in March was “a very teachable moment.”
“I have two sons in college ... and I say to them, Guys, the internet, it’s a beast. It’s an information highway without regulation. Any image you put on there can be interpreted any way it wants to,” he says.
Gooding Jr, says he has nothing but love for Paulson, 42, who he also costarred with on American Crime Story.
“I love the lady that is Sarah Paulson,” he says. “We have a banter like brother and sister, which is how the spirit of that whole panel was.”
“Yet that image was taken out to represent some kind of sexual misconduct, and that wasn’t my intent,” he continued. “The first person, when I heard about the fervor, I called Sarah, I said, I love you, I see you as my sister,’ and she said, I feel the same way about you.’ And so I let it go.”
Gooding Jr., 49, says he can only live by his moral compass and teaches his sons to do the same.
“I said to my sons again, I said, The only thing you can do is represent your moral compass and who you are. Because images are going to be out there without your control, so continue standing in your integrity.'”
- Reporting by Aurelie Corinthios