Content warning: this article discusses sexual assault and violence and may be distressing to some readers. If you are experiencing sexual abuse or other unwanted behaviour, please contact Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia.
Emily Ratajkowski has claimed that Robin Thickie allegedly assaulted her while on set to film his Blurred Lines music video.
Explaining the horrific incident in her new book My Body, the model and new mother opened up about her experience working with Thicke on said music video, admitting that the musician allegedly groped her breasts from behind.
“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 revealed.
“He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind his sunglasses. My head turned to the darkness beyond the set. [Director] Diane Martel’s voice cracked as she yelled out to me, ‘Are you okay?,’” the book passage reads, which is set to be released next month.
Martel confirmed the allegations to The Sunday Times, confirming that Ratajkowski’s explanation of events were true.
“I remember the moment that he grabbed her breasts,” she revealed.
“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!!’”
Ratajkowski recalls feeling “humiliation” from the incident, however, she unfortunately was unable to react, likely from shock. The feeling of helplessness and surprise at the action forced upon a victim of assault is all too common, but the shame shouldn’t be on them, and rather on the person inflicting said unwanted actions—in this case, Thicke.
The infamous music video from 2013 followed Ratajkowski and two other models dancing topless on set alongside Thicke, Pharrell, and rapper T.I.—who has previously been called out for his controversial admission that he accompanies his 18-year-old daughter to her gynaecological appointments every year to check that her hymen and virginity are intact.
However, the song’s lyrics were the reason it was thrown into the spotlight, at first for its catchy nature but quickly for making disgusting and unfair insinuations about sexually assault. Essentially explaining that when someone says “no”, they really mean “yes”, Thicke’s lyrics explain how he believes consent is simply a blurred line, saying “I hate these blurred lines, I know you want it.”
In fact, consent is the opposite and an incredibly easy concept to understand—no blurred lines necessary, because no means no.
Back in September, Ratajkowski unfortunately also detailed another sexual assault that she endured at the hands of photographer Jonathan Leder during a photoshoot at his home in May, 2012.
In a piece written for The Cut, the model detailed the ordeal that took place when she was just 20-years-old. She recalled taking part in an unpaid editorial shoot, where at some point Leder allegedly put “his fingers inside of her” while they were sitting on his couch together.
The shoot, arranged by her agent at the time in order to add to her modelling portfolio, consisted of both nude and lingerie shots, and Ratajkowski recalls being fed copious amounts of red wine during her time at the photographer’s home, despite being under the legal drinking age.
She remembered that she was “very, very drunk” by the time the shoot had wrapped up.
“I was cold, shivering, and huddled under a blanket,” she wrote, adding that Leder began asking her about her dating history.
“Most of what came next was a blur except for the feeling,” she recalled. “I don’t remember kissing, but I do remember his fingers suddenly being inside of me. Harder and harder and pushing and pushing like no one had touched me before or has touched me since. I could feel the shape of myself and my ridges, and it really, really hurt.”
Ratajkowski then explains that she leaped to stop it going any further.
“I brought my hand instinctively to his wrist and pulled his fingers out of me with force. I didn’t say a word. He stood up abruptly and scurried silently into the darkness up the stairs,” she explained, adding that Leder then did not acknowledge her presence.
“I was both confused as to why Jonathan had left without a word and terrified that he would come back,” she wrote.
Stating the claims were “too tawdry and childish to respond to,” Leder not only denied the allegations, but then added a sick jab about Ratajkowski’s past work.
“You do know who we are talking about right? This is the girl that was naked in Treats! magazine, and bounced around naked in the Robin Thicke video at that time,” he said, referring to her appearance in Thicke’s Blurred Lines video clip, adding, “You really want someone to believe she was a victim?”
This comes after Leder literally published a book in 2016 titled Emily Ratajkowski, filled with photographs of the model from when she was starting out in the industry, which Ratajkowski says were not approved by her or her team.
Castor Gallery in New York City then went on to use the images in a 2017 exhibition titled Polaroids. Despite efforts from Ratajkowski and her legal team to prove that she had not provided legitimate consent to the extended use of these images, the exhibition went ahead and Leder would go on to publish three more books containing the images; Two Nights With Emily and two editions of Unseen Ratajkowski.
Consent is never a difference of opinion or a ‘blurred line’. Violating somebody without their verbal consent or to persist after they say ‘stop’ or ‘no’, is an assault. No matter what their past has entailed, no matter what sexual activities they’ve taken part in prior, consent is mandatory and anything done without it is a crime. Simple as that.
Rolling Stone Magazine has reached out to Thicke for comment on Ratajkowski’s allegations, however, he has not responded to their request for a comment.