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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

It’s awful, but not surprising that Emily Ratajkowski says she was sexually assaulted on the set of Blurred Lines


By Megan Burns
04th Oct 2021
It’s awful, but not surprising that Emily Ratajkowski says she was sexually assaulted on the set of Blurred Lines

In her new book, the model accuses Robin Thicke of groping her on the set of the controversial music video in 2013.

In her upcoming book, My Body, supermodel Emily Ratajkowski has accused singer Robin Thicke of sexually assaulting her during the filming of his Blurred Lines music video. 

She says that he groped her bare breasts from behind during the filming of the video, which included her and two other models almost completely naked, as well as Thicke, Pharrell and rapper TI, all fully clothed. 

The song and caused controversy, accused of glorifying rape culture with the repeated lines “I know you want it”, as well as the clothed men presented alongside the almost naked women in the music video. There was also a more explicit web-only version of the video. The song was subsequently banned by some universities and nightclubs. 

With that one gesture, Robin Thicke had reminded everyone on set that we women weren’t actually in charge

Ratajkowski writes: “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. My head turned to the darkness beyond the set.”

She adds that that moment was the first time she felt naked that day, but that she was “desperate to minimise” the incident. “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.”

Her account was corroborated by the video’s director, Diane Martel, who says she saw what happened and shouted at Thicke. “I remember the moment that he grabbed her breasts. He was standing behind her as they were both in profile,” she told The Times. She says Thicke “sheepishly apologised”.

Martel says that the idea behind the video was to subvert traditional power dynamics, with the women ignoring the men’s attention, but this incident underlines how far from the truth this was for those on set.

Both Martel and Ratajkowski say Thicke was drunk on set, which is not only completely unprofessional, but also adds to any existing imbalance of power. As the “hired mannequin”, as she puts it, Ratajkowski was there to do her job, while it seems Thicke was just there to have a good time.

“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.”

Ratajkowski’s book, which is due out November 2, promises to shine a light on how her body is at once something that people want to sell, but has many times been used against her. An extract published in New York Magazine details her struggle to gain control over her own image.