Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. will have to shell out $80,000 to a former bartender he groped at a Manhattan nightclub, a judge ruled Friday.
Judge Richard Latin ordered the embattled actor to pay the damages to Natasha Ashworth in a Manhattan civil suit that Gooding Jr. never responded to in court.
In the suit, Ashworth said the “Jerry Maguire” actor asked her if she wanted to see he penis and later pinched her butt in front of other staff members in 2018 at Tao Downtown, where she worked at the time.
Before the damages were awarded Friday, Ashworth gave a statement at the virtual court hearing — which Gooding Jr. did not show up for — telling a judge she was humiliated, embarrassed and ashamed after the incident.
She said footage of the incident was leaked to the media and she suffered online harassment as a result.
“Now, when you google my name, it’s all about being a victim of sexual assault … it’s not rewarding,” she said.
Ashworth said she sought $80,000 in the suit because she heard a celebrity of his stature could earn that sum in a single day.
“I wanted to send him a message that his behavior really needed to be changed,” she said.
In April, Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor forcible touching charge in Manhattan criminal court for non-consensually kissing a woman at a nightclub in 2018.