Eight and a half years after it was released into the world, Emily Ratajkowski is opening up about what really happened while filming the controversial “Blurred Lines” music video. The model discusses the experience in her upcoming book, My Body, where she accuses Robin Thicke of groping her while on set.
In an expert from the book, from London’s Sunday Times, Ratajkowski describes the incident. While at first, the Times claims Ratajkowski enjoyed filming the video, that all changed very quickly. “Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt the coolness and foreignness of a stranger’s hands cupping my bare breasts from behind,” Ratajkowski wrote in her book. “I instinctively moved away, looking back at Robin Thicke.”
At that point, the video’s director, Diane Martel, asked Ratajkowski if she was OK. According to Martel, she was ready to put an end to the shoot for the day, but Ratajkowski “was very professional and said we could go on,” so they continued.
‘Blurred Lines’ caused controversy immediately following its audio release in 2013 for its lyrics that promoted rape culture and trivialized consent. Then, the release of the music video added to the conversation. There are two versions of the ‘Blurred Lines’ video, one where Thicke dances with featured artists Pharrell Williams and TI as well as three clothed models. In the “unrated version,” the models, including Ratajkowski, are completely naked aside from nude thongs. Despite the video being made by an all-female team (including a female director in Martel), it was criticized for sexism.
Following the release of the video, Ratajkowski initially defended it, saying the concept fights back against the male gaze. “Our attitude in the video was a little silly—we’re rolling our eyes, ignoring the men, and making fun of them,” she told Into the Gloss back in 2013. “It’s also supposed to be about celebrating your own body and about confidence. It was a fun video, and in general, I have always felt great about nudity.”
Ratajkowski now admits, however, that after being groped by Thicke (who Ratajkowski believes was drunk at the time), she felt “naked for the first time that day.” She said she tried to move past it in order to continue working. “I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body,” she wrote in her book. “I didn’t react — not really, not like I should have.” Despite the feminist goal of the video, Ratajkowski wrote that, “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.”
Thicke has yet to respond to the accusations.