Model Emily Ratajkowski, who shot to fame with her appearance in Robin Thicke's 2013 music video for his hit song "Blurred Lines," is alleging that the singer groped her while on the set.
"Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt the coolness and foreignness of a stranger's hands cupping my bare breasts from behind," Ratajkowski, 30, writes in her upcoming memoir "My Body," according to an excerpt published Sunday in the London newspaper The Times. She and fellow models Elle Evans and Jessi M'Bengue dance with Thicke; singer Pharrell Williams, who co-wrote and produced the track; and rapper T.I. (né Clifford Harris) in both general-release and unrated versions. All three women appeared topless in the latter.
"I instinctively moved away, looking back at Robin Thicke," Ratajkowski continued. "He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind his sunglasses. My head turned to the darkness beyond the set," she wrote, adding, "I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body."
While Thicke and others have said in interviews over the years that the video was a self-conscious comment on the sexualization of women in media, Ratajkowski recalled 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."
The video's veteran director, Diane Martel, who headed what she told MTV at the time was an all-female crew on the single-day shoot, confirmed to The Times, "I remember the moment that he grabbed her breasts. One in each hand. He was standing behind her as they were both in profile."
The Brooklyn-born Martel, niece of the late theater legend Joseph Papp, said, "I screamed in my very aggressive Brooklyn voice" that this was unacceptable and she was halting the shoot. Ratajkowski, however, "was very professional and said we could go on." Thicke, Martel said, "sheepishly apologized. As if he knew it was wrong without understanding how it might have felt for Emily."
The director believes that Thicke had been drunk to some degree: "I don't think he would have done this had he been sober."
Thicke's representative did not respond to a request for comment. Ratajkowski's representative had no comment. Neither star, nor Martel, has commented on social media.