It appears that after failing to respond to the suit filed by bartender Natasha Ashworth for over a year, Gooding Jr lost by default.
Ashworth sued the “Radio” star back in October 2019 after accusing him of trying to grope her and pinch her rear end while she was serving at New York City’s Tao Downtown Nightclub the year before. The 53-year-old failed to address Ashworth’s complaint, prompting her to request a default judgment against him in January 2021. The outlet noted that the actor never hired a civil attorney to defend, neither were court documents ever filed by him or on his behalf.
On Wednesday, June 2, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Alexander Tisch approved Ashworth’s request for a default judgment on the claims of assault and battery. Judge Tisch, however, disagreed with the accusations of infliction of emotional distress, citing redundancy. He also suggested that the case goes to trial in order to assess the damages and determine an award amount for Ashworth.
According to security footage obtained by TMZ, Ashworth and Gooding did interact with each other on the night. Two camera angles showed the actor appearing to make contact with the accuser’s behind. Following the first touch, Ashworth becomes visibly bothered, and the two engage in a heated argument. The bartender claimed that she told the star not to touch her butt. He allegedly responded, saying, “Aw, that’s no fun, and I didn’t. I touched your back.” The clip also showed where Gooding tried to show Ashworth where he claimed to have touched her, but she grabbed his arm before motioning him to leave her alone.
Elsewhere, Gooding’s criminal defense attorney Mark Heller called Ashworth’s claims “baseless,” adding that “the judgment is worthless.” Meanwhile, Gooding doesn’t appear to be too moved by his current legal situation. Daily Mail reported that the star was spotted at a bar in Santa Monica just days before losing his case. He appeared maskless, wearing a white T-shirt, beaded necklace, and sweater tied around his jeans accompanied by a drink and other bar-goers.
This isn’t the first time the “Men of Honor” star has been accused of a form of misconduct. As of late, a total of 30 women have made allegations against him; Ashworth was just the first to step forward.
The same year Ashworth filed her suit, Gooding was arrested in June for allegedly grabbing a 30-year-old woman’s breast inside the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge in the Moxy Times Square hotel. He has denied the accusation.