Marvin Gaye’s family has accused Pharrell Williams of perjuring himself in court during the 2015 copyright trial for “Blurred Lines.”
In a motion filed on Friday in California, Gaye’s family has taken issue with a November GQ interview Williams did with the producer Rick Rubin. During their conversation, Williams discussed his music-making process and the idea behind trying to elicit certain feelings for listeners through songs.
“For the most part, what we always try to do was reverse engineer the songs that did something to us emotionally and figure out where the mechanism is in there and, as I said to you before, try to figure out if we can build a building that doesn’t look the same but makes you feel the same way,” Williams said. “I did that in ‘Blurred Lines’ and got myself in trouble.”
But for the Gaye family, Williams’s comments seemingly contradicted his deposition during the copyright trial, where the producer and Robin Thicke were ordered to pay $5.3 million for infringing on the copyright of Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up.”
According to court transcripts from the 2015 trial, Williams said during his deposition, “I did not go in the studio with the intention of making anything to feel like — or to sound like Marvin Gaye.”
The motion claims that Williams’s new comments from the GQ interview indicate that the producer perjured himself in court. The Gaye family is asking that these new revelations be taken into consideration by the court so that the family can be compensated for “attorneys’ fees and costs,” amounting to about $3.5 million that was originally denied to them.
“Williams’s behavior seems akin to the entitled conduct of those taking part in the college admissions scandal. Like others who are not celebrities, those who do in fact wield the power of celebrity should not be permitted to do or say whatever they want without repercussions,” the motion states.
Representatives for Williams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But during his GQ interview, Williams was laudatory toward Gaye and said that the copyright trial “hurt” him.
“This was a freak situation that was meant to humble me, to teach me a lesson. And I think that lesson was just be very clear on what my intentions are and to just not assume that everyone understands the difference between rayon and silk,” Williams told Rubin. “I made rayon, [Marvin Gaye] made silk.”
Watch the interview that’s at the heart of the Gaye family’s motion above.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.