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Emily Ratajkowski reveals that Robin Thicke sexually assaulted her during Blurred Lines video shoot

By | Published on Tuesday 5 October 2021

Blurred Lines

Emily Ratajkowski has revealed in a new book that Robin Thicke sexually assaulted her on the set of the video for his single ‘Blurred Lines’. One of three models who appeared topless in the pop promo, she says that Thicke grabbed her breasts during the shoot.

According to The Times, in her new book called ‘My Body’, Ratajkowski recalls how, while semi-naked on set filming the video, “suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt the coolness and foreignness of a stranger’s hands cupping my bare breasts from behind. I instinctively moved away, looking back at Robin Thicke”.

“He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind his sunglasses”, she adds. “My head turned to the darkness beyond the set”.

The video’s director, Diane Martel, witnessed this happen, and immediately asked if she was OK. Ratajkowski recalls how the incident made her feel “naked for the first time that day” but, “desperate to minimise” what had happened, she proceeded with the shoot. She adds: “I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body. I didn’t react – not really, not like I should have”.

The video was controversial when it was released in 2013 because of the nudity, and the contrast between the semi-naked female models and the fully dressed male performers on the track: Thicke, Pharrell Williams and TI.

However, Martel argued that her creative intent in the video was actually to subvert the traditional male/female power dynamic, because while the fully clothed men leered at the semi-naked women, the models in the video variously ignored and mocked them.

Of course, the intended message of the video might have worked better had it not been the official promo for what was basically a pop anthem celebrating date rape, set to a stolen Marvin Gaye melody and made super radio friendly – providing you didn’t listen to the lyrics too closely – by the masterful pop production skills of Williams.

And then, of course, pushed out into the world in a blaze of publicity by a record industry so blind to everyday misogyny that it didn’t seem to even realise that the lyrical content was somewhat suspect, and in complete conflict with Martel’s creative vision for the video.

Meanwhile, on set, Thicke’s assault of Ratajkowski meant that the making of the promo – despite it having an all-female production team – did little to challenge the traditional male/female power dynamic either.

Says Ratajkowski: “With that one gesture, Robin Thicke had reminded everyone on set that we women weren’t actually in charge. 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”.

Martel also recalls the incident in the Times article. She says her initial response was: “What the fuck are you doing – that’s it – the shoot is over”. Thicke then “sheepishly apologised – as if he knew it was wrong without understanding how it might have felt for Emily”.

The director says that she was initially serious about calling off the video shoot after the assault, but that ultimately Ratajkowski “was very professional and said we could go on”.

Thicke is yet to respond to Ratajkowski’s allegations.