“American Crime Story” viewers took to social media on Tuesday night to comment on one of the most controversial scenes in season 1 thus far. In the powerful scene, O.J. Simpson’s (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) defense attorney, F. Lee Bailey (Nathan Lane), dropped the “n-word” six times as he cross-examined detective Mark Fuhrman (Steven Pasquale).
Fuhrman, who discovered important evidence at the crime scene, was alleged to have a history of using the racial slur. In the moving scene, Lane’s Bailey said that the racist term is “the most powerful word in the English language” before threatening to “impale” Pasquale’s Fuhrman. As he questioned the LAPD detective, the defense attorney used the word multiple times, mirroring what actually happened during the O.J. Simpson trial. And just as it did more than two decades ago, the use of the “n-word” in court stunned viewers Tuesday night.
After the episode aired, Gooding, Jr. defended the show’s use of the word, saying that not censoring the racist slur and letting people hear it on television is “important.”
“Our job as artists is to reflect the ills of society sometimes and to find a truth in that, and I think you can’t start the healing process until you recognize the truth and all of its ugly warts and all,” he told PEOPLE.
The “American Crime Story” star also hinted at the next episode, in which the so-called Fuhrman tapes are featured, saying that it is “brutal” and that it was the “most upsetting” for him to shoot.
Meanwhile, “American Horror Story” actress Sarah Paulson, who plays the role of head prosecutor Marcia Clark in “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” recently opened up to Entertainment Weekly about the real-life Clark.
According to the actress, who admitted that she had the opportunity to meet Clark but opted not to, “I think a lot of people have misperceptions and perceptions about who she is and was.”
Paulson also recalled her own opinions of Clark during the famous trial, telling EW that, at the time, she was “completely susceptible” to what the media was saying about the prosecutor. It wasn’t until she had done her own research on Clark that she learned the truth about the woman made famous by the O.J. Simpson trial.
“I personally think there’s going to be a different view of her when this is over, I hope a more accurate view of the full person,” she said.
“American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.