Model and actor Emily Ratajkowski has accused singer Robin Thicke of sexually assaulting her while shooting the music video for 2013’s “Blurred Lines.”
In her forthcoming book, “My Body,” Ratajkowski recalls Thicke groping her bare breasts on the set of the famous video, which sees the author and two other models dancing nude around the music producer as he sings about assuming “the hottest b— in this place” wants to sleep with him.
The director of the music video, Diane Martel, corroborated Ratajkowski’s account with her own recollection of the incident, provided to London’s the Sunday Times.
“Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt the coolness and foreignness of a stranger’s hands cupping my bare breasts from behind,” Ratajkowski wrote in an excerpt obtained by the Sunday Times. “I instinctively moved away, looking back at Robin Thicke.”
“He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind sunglasses. My head turned to the darkness beyond the set.”
According to the British newspaper, Martel then called out to Ratajkowski and asked if she was OK.
“I remember the moment that he grabbed her breasts,” the veteran music video director told the Sunday Times. “One in each hand. He was standing behind her as they were both in profile.”
Martel added that she tried to create a safe environment for Ratajkowski and other female talent behind the scenes. Representatives for Thicke did not immediately respond Monday to the Los Angeles Times’ request for comment.
“I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body,” Ratajkowski wrote of the aftermath. “I didn’t react — not really, not like I should have.”
After Martel “screamed” at him, Thicke “sheepishly apologized,” according to the director, “as if he knew it was wrong without understanding how it might have felt for Emily.”
“What the f— are you doing, that’s it!!” Martel remembered yelling at Thicke. “The shoot is over!!”
When the monster hit single by Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams debuted in 2013, “Blurred Lines” sparked a backlash from critics who claimed its lyrics — such as “I know you want it” and “I hate these blurred lines” — perpetuated rape culture and dismissed the importance of consent.
In a February 2021 interview with Apple Music, Thicke defended the Grammy-nominated track as a crowd-pleasing dance anthem with no deeper meaning.
“I never saw it that way when I sang it or performed it,” he said. “[T]he crowd goes crazy. … Even people who aren’t big fans of mine, that’s the only [song] they know.”
“You just kind of take it with a grain of salt. … We’re just jamming, everybody is meant to get up and dance. That’s all the song is meant to do.”
In a 2015 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ratajkowski said she wasn’t bothered by the fact that only the women of the “Blurred Lines” video were nude — despite turning the project down initially because she didn’t want to be “naked and running around.”
Though she suspected “no one expected her to have any ideas about it,” Ratajkowski said she eventually agreed to appear in the video after having “a really great conversation” with Martel and other women involved in the production.
“We took something that on paper sounded really sexist and misogynistic and made it more interesting, which is why women love that video and why it became a viral success,” she said.
“There’s an attitude and energy there that goes beyond girls shaking their ass around suited men — a confidence that I think is refreshing. We don’t have any images of nude women other than in really beautiful magazines shot by great photographers that aren’t overly sexualized. And I think that ‘Blurred Lines’ wasn’t overly sexualized, and that’s what made it interesting.”
But after Thicke allegedly touched her without her consent, Ratajkowski said she felt “naked for the first time that day” and was “desperate to minimize what happened,” according to her book.
“With that one gesture, [Thicke] had reminded everyone on set that we women weren’t actually in charge,” she wrote, as excerpted in the Sunday Times. “I didn’t have any real power as the naked girl dancing around in his music video. I was nothing more than the hired mannequin.”
Ratajkowski’s “My Body,” — a collection of essays exploring “feminism, sexuality, and power, of men’s treatment of women and women’s rationalizations for accepting that treatment,” according to the book description — is available for preorder before hitting shelves Nov. 9.