More Than Eight Years After Its Release, "Blurred Lines" Is Still Stirring up Controversy

"Blurred Lines" is one of the most controversial songs of the last decade, but what does it mean? Emily Ratajkowski also spoke up about the video.

Chris Barilla - Author

Oct. 5 2021, Published 5:39 p.m. ET

Pharrell, Robin Thicke, T.I.
Source: Getty Images

The legacy that the song "Blurred Lines" left on the music of the 2010s is inescapable and largely shrouded in controversy. The Robin Thicke–helmed track, which also features Pharrell and T.I., has been accused of perpetuating several toxic male stereotypes. Because of that, the negative backlash it has received over the years left an undeniable blemish on Robin's career.

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So, what exactly is the true meaning behind "Blurred Lines" and what is the extent of the controversy it spurred? Here's a breakdown of all of the known facts.

Robin Thicke
Source: Getty
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What is the meaning behind "Blurred Lines"? Despite being upbeat, it has a pretty dark tone to it.

When "Blurred Lines" came out back in 2013, it was the definitive bop of the summer. Played on virtually every commercial pop radio station and achieving the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, where it remained in various positions for 51 weeks, it was an undeniable success. However, the song has been criticized for containing a multitude of references to unwanted sexual advances and perpetrations of toxic masculinity that took some time before being brought to light.

Lyrics such as "I hate these blurred lines / I know you want it" and "Do it like it hurt / What, you don't like work," are clearly referring to the notion of a man attempting to get the attention of a woman in a club when she doesn't want him to. The accompanying music video, which was originally shot with three semi-nude models dancing on the three clothed men, drummed up plenty of controversy as well.

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An uncensored version was later released, but it was eventually removed from YouTube.

In 2013, one blogger (per The Guardian) branded "Blurred Lines" as a "rape song," and a slew of other publications referred to it in a similar fashion. That same year, Tricia Romano of The Daily Beast called the song "kind of rapey," and added that the "creepy lyrics" "unnerved" plenty of female listeners.

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Robin hit back at these claims in a 2021 interview with Zane Lowe, where he said that the song was just meant for everybody "to get up and dance."

"Well, really, I never saw it that way when I sang it or performed it," he told Zane, adding, "You just kind of take it with a grain of salt. The reason I started all of this is because I love music, I love to make music, and then, once I started to perform, I love to perform, so I just go for that part of it."

Emily Ratajkowski
Source: Getty Images
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Emily Ratajkowski alleged that Robin Thicke fondled her while shooting the "Blurred Lines" music video.

The controversy around the "Blurred Lines" music video is still continuing more than eight years after it was released. Per The Times, model Emily Ratajkowski, who was one of the three aforementioned women featured in the video, recently alleged that Robin grabbed her bare breasts while they were filming the original uncensored version.

"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," Emily said, according to the publication. The quotes are a part of her forthcoming book My Body, set to release in November 2021.

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Robin Thicke
Source: Getty Images

Emily further alleged that "[Robin] 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 okay?'"

Diane confirmed Robin's actions in the Times report, saying, "I remember the moment that he grabbed her breasts."

"One in each hand," she continued. "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!!'"

Diane also mentioned that Robin was drunk and that "I don’t think he would have done this had he been sober."

The singer has not responded to Emily or Diane's claims as of yet.

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