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Brooke Shields Really Needs to Keep Her Hands To Herself

(left to right) Actors Cate Blanchett, Angela Bassett, and Brooke Shields standing together on the red carpet for the 'TIME Magazine' Women of the Year event. Cate is blonde and is wearing a black tuxedo jacket and pearls. Angela has shoulder-length curly Black hair and is wearing a purplish-pink suit with a low neckline. Brooke has long, brown hair, and is wearing a bright pink blazer. We see them all from the shoulders up, and they're all facing left and smiling.

You should watch the video below to hear from some of the awesome women who were honored among TIME Magazine‘s Women of the Year. However, you might notice something jarring in the first few seconds.

In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, Brooke Shields inexplicably goes for a quick grab of Angela Bassett‘s butt as they pose for pictures on the red carpet. Just before she does, it seems like Bassett says something to her that may have prompted the move. Still, as far as I know, Shields and Bassett aren’t besties like that. They are professionals in the same field being honored by a national magazine.

If ever there wasn’t a time for ass-grabbing, this would be it.

Naturally, the internet is talking about it. Some are calling out the Associated Press for including that in the video at all, as it constitutes a form of sexual assault.

Others are discussing the assault issue, as well as pointing out the race factor in this moment:

A couple of folks in the thread brought up the fact that we don’t know how close the women are, and/or whether this was something that would upset Bassett:

As mentioned, it looked as though Bassett said something to Shields before the grab. There’s no way for us to know what that was unless either of them speaks about it publicly.

Nonetheless, even if they are, indeed, good friends, this is a professional event. An event with cameras everywhere. I have a hard time justifying casually going for a grab of someone’s ass while taking photos. In my close group of friends, we absolutely grab each other’s bits all the time to be funny. We have each other’s consent to do so—in private social situations. I would never do that to any of them at a freaking work event.

I also have a hard time imagining Shields doing that to a white colleague. There absolutely is a racialized element to this. Black women, and other women of color, are often fetishized for their thicker bodies to the point that white people feel comfortable enough to reach out and grab while “meaning no harm.” But it does cause harm.

Whether it upsets Bassett or not, Shields did this on camera, and the footage has been disseminated worldwide through the Associated Press. This isn’t only about harm to Bassett. It’s about “yet another instance of a white woman feeling entitled to touch/grab at a Black woman’s body” being forced upon Black women everywhere who are watching. It’s about this instance reinforcing all the other instances and serving as yet another microaggression in the media.

Shields has been in the entertainment industry nearly all her life. She’s very conscious of cameras and how media and the press work. The idea that she would do something like this in the setting where she did it is baffling to me. That’s not how you publicly lift up a woman you respect.

Do you have thoughts about this? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

(featured image: Associated Press)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.