Supermodel Emily Ratajkowski claims in her new book that singer Robin Thicke touched her breasts without consent on the set of his 2013 “Blurred Lines” video. According to an excerpt from My Body that ran in the Sunday Times of London over the weekend, Ratajkowski writes that, “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.”
She reportedly writes that she had no objection at first to being naked or semi-naked in the video, but began to have second thoughts when, according to her book, Thicke returned “to the set a little drunk to shoot just with me.”
The model/actress — who rocketed to fame after appearing in the video, which stars Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams dancing around with her and fellow models Elle Evans and Jessi M’Bengue — goes on to describe Thicke’s demeanor on the set. “He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind his sunglasses. My head turned to the darkness beyond the set,” she writes; a spokesperson for Ratajkowski and publisher Macmillan had not returned requests for comment at press time seeking confirmation on the details of the excerpt. Reps for Thicke did not respond to a request for comment.
Ratajkowski, 30, continues, “(The director, Diane Martel’s) voice cracked as she yelled out to me, ‘Are you okay?’” According to the excerpt, Martel confirmed Ratajkowski’s version of events, saying, “I remember the moment that he grabbed her breasts. One in each hand. He was standing behind her as they were both in profile. I screamed in my very aggressive Brooklyn voice, ‘What the f–k are you doing, that’s it!! The shoot is over!!’”
Martel said that Thicke “sheepishly” apologized for his alleged actions and that she didn’t believe he would have done it if he’d “been sober.”
The song and the video were both heavily criticized at the time for what detractors said was its blatantly misogynistic, sexist tone and objectification of women, with the video in particular getting called out by Vice at the time as “a masterpiece of idiocy and the level of stupidity and arrogance required in order for a video this banal, offensive and unimaginative is almost impressive.”
The models appeared semi-naked in the clip — as well as topless in an unrated version — but the alleged action by Thicke made Ratajkowski feel “naked for the first time that day,” according to the book. Reflecting on the incident now, Ratajkowski said she wished she’d had a different reaction in the moment.
“I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body,” she wrote. “I didn’t react — not really, not like I should have.”
The book, due out on Nov. 9 from Macmillan, is described as “a deeply honest investigation of what it means to be a woman and a commodity… a profoundly personal exploration of feminism, sexuality, and power, of men’s treatment of women and women’s rationalizations for accepting that treatment. These essays chronicle moments from Ratajkowski’s life while investigating the culture’s fetishization of girls and female beauty, its obsession with and contempt for women’s sexuality, the perverse dynamics of the fashion and film industries, and the grey area between consent and abuse.”