Pop star blurs the lines on set of video
LOS ANGELES: A top model claims she was sexually assaulted by a singer on the set of the music video for a song that went No.1 around the world.
Emily Ratajkowski said R&B singer Robin Thicke grabbed her bare breasts while they were filming the video for the hit 2013 song Blurred Lines.
Ratajkowski was one of three models who appeared semi-naked in the video alongside Thicke, singer Pharrell Williams and rapper TI.
The now 30-year-old – who makes the allegations in her book My Body, to be published next month – describes initially enjoying filming, which was shot using an allfemale team.
But she said the enjoyment stopped when Thicke touched her while they were standing alone on set.
“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,” Ratajkowski writes.
“He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind his sunglasses.
“My head turned to the darkness beyond the set. (The director, Diane Martel’s) voice cracked as she yelled out to me, ‘are you OK’?”
Ratajkowski said the experience in the Los Angeles studio made her feel “naked
for the first time that day” but she had been “desperate to minimise” what had happened. “I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body,” she said. “I didn’t react – not really, not like I should have.”
Ratajkowski said that soon before the alleged incident Thicke was “a little drunk” and “didn’t seem to be enjoying himself in the same way”.
Martel intended the video to subvert power dynamics.
Although the women were almost naked and being leered at, they were ignoring and mocking the men.
But the song and video caused international controversy, with some suggesting
it promoted rape culture.
The lyrics are about a man pursuing an uninterested woman in a club, saying: “I know you want it.”
Williams has since said he is “embarrassed” by its lyrics.
Ratajkowski said Thicke’s actions had undermined any feeling of empowerment on set. “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,” she said.
Martel said she recalled the incident described. “I remember the moment that he grabbed her breasts. One in each hand. He was stand
ing behind her as they were both in profile,” she said.
Until that point “everything had been very sweet and enjoyable” and women were comfortable on set, where no men aside from performers were allowed.
Martel said: “I screamed in my very aggressive Brooklyn voice, ‘what the f--k are you doing, that’s it. The shoot is over!’ ”
After that, she said Thicke was contrite. “Robin sheepishly apologised. As if he knew it was wrong without understanding how it might have felt for Emily,” she said.
Martel said Thicke had been drinking, adding: “I don’t think he would have done this had he been sober.”