Cuba Gooding Jr. has denied an allegation by comedian, blogger, and podcaster Claudia Oshry that he sexually assaulted her in a nightclub when she was 16 years old.
Oshry says she has for several years incorporated in her standup routine her account of her encounter with Gooding: She says that when she was 16, she was in a nightclub and the Jerry Maguire Oscar-winner “put his finger up my butt” without her consent.
Gooding’s lawyer, Mark Heller, denied the accusation, telling E! News: “Cuba says this incident never happened and he has no recollection of this individual either.”
Oshry, now 24, discussed the experience as she recalls it on her podcast days after the 51-year-old pleaded not guilty to groping a woman’s breasts at a Manhattan rooftop bar, despite the fact that CCTV footage appears to show him doing just that.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know if I’ve ever considered myself to be a victim of sexual assault because I’m not,” Oshry said on her podcast.
“There are people who are real victims and I would never compare myself to them.
“But yes, when I was in high school—I was fucking 16 years old—Cuba Gooding Jr. put his finger up my butt.”
Oshry said she didn’t “even know what the right word is” for how she felt at the time and revealed she didn’t go to the police because she was legally underage and was frightened she would get in trouble for being in the club.
She said the assault had become “a part of my story,” and that she had incorporated the incident into her comedy routine.
“You want to put your finger up my butt without my consent? Fine.
“But I’m going to use it for all that it’s worth.
“It’s become, like, this really funny bit in my story.”
Oshry said she was struck by how many people claimed to have had similar experiences with Gooding.
“There’s, like, at least once every show, someone who comes up to me, and they’re like, “Oh my God! Me and my friends were at a club and the same thing happened to me” or “The same thing happened to my friend.’”
Oshry saluted the woman who had reported Gooding, saying, “Good on this girl, because how many people is he going to grope before somebody calls the police?”
In a criminal complaint released by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, investigators said the woman said she “observed the defendant place his hand on her breast and squeeze,” and that “she did not consent to the defendant touching her breast.”
The 29-year-old woman, who has not been identified by authorities, told cops that she noticed Gooding Jr. was “heavily intoxicated” and offered him a cup of water, a senior NYPD official told The Daily Beast.
Gooding turned himself in to police just hours after a second woman emerged to claim to have also been groped by him over a decade ago, saying he grabbed her rear end in 2008 during a brief meeting at a restaurant in Manhattan, the New York Daily News reported.
New York has a five-year statute of limitations on these types of sexual assaults, so it was not immediately clear if the actor would be charged or questioned on these allegations.