More than a decade before the #MeToo movement took shape, Scarlett Johansson, one of today’s biggest voices in the movement, was involved in a shocking incident that occurred on the Golden Globes red carpet. Now with the 76th Golden Globes ceremony set to air on January 6, it is clear that the red carpet climate has changed dramatically over the past few years.
The questionable incident occurred on January 16, 2006, when a then-21-year-old Scarlett Johansson was interviewed on E!’s Red Carpet Show by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, 44, ahead of the 63rd Golden Globes.
Mizrahi had already asked Teri Hatcher, Keira Knightley, and several other actresses what kind of underwear they were wearing. When asking Scarlett Johansson about her clingy, red Valentino gown, Isaac Mizrahi wanted to know if the Match Point actress was wearing a bra underneath.
“It’s all built in,” Johansson said, per the Hollywood Reporter. “That’s the Valentino way.”
But Isaac Mizrahi took it upon himself to give the young movie star’s left breast a squeeze as she laughed nervously and asked what was going on.
“I just wanna feel it,” Mizrahi told Johansson. “Oh, that’s totally working.”
The fashion designer explained that he was “just taking notes” and he later cheered, “I touched Scarlett’s boobs!”
Isaac Mizrahi’s shocking actions were brushed off by fellow E! presenters Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic, who claimed Mizrahi was able ” to get away with” the on-camera feel-up because he’s gay.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 5, 2019
Scarlett Johansson later recounted the incident to the Los Angeles Times, revealing she wasn’t buying Mizrahi’s explanation that he was just trying to figure out how her dress worked.
“It was definitely in poor taste,” Johansson told the Times of the incident in March 2006. “I’d been prepping for two hours with hair and makeup and getting dressed. And the first interview I do, someone who I have never met before fondles me for his own satisfaction.”
Johansson admitted that she “sort of shocked” when Mizrahi made his move, adding, “Mostly, I was thinking, ‘Oh, my God. This is happening on live TV.'”
“I don’t think he got a huge thrill out it. He was making some shocking show or whatever for his channel and wanted to be different and racy and all of those things. When it happened, I think I actually said, ‘What the heck is going on?’ At the same time, people made a huge deal out of something that, in the moment, was not as exciting as it seemed afterward.”
At the time, Scarlett Johansson did give Isaac Mizrahi a pass, saying, “I’m not mad at him. I think he’s a guy that’s starting his TV career and he’s making a bit of an exciting moment for himself. I can’t be angry at him. Surely he is thrilled with the press and the attention it’s getting.”
Isaac Mizrahi was also questioned about the incident five years later during an interview on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.
“This wasn’t nasty. This was, ‘Are you wearing a bra?’ In fittings I do that all the time,” Mizrahi told the Canadian talk show host in 2013. “That was as natural for me as shaking someone’s hand…In retrospect, I looked at it and went, ‘Ew, that’s true.’ And when it happened I was so scared and I didn’t go, ‘Hey, wait a minute. I was just shaking her hand.’ I didn’t say anything. I was like, ‘OK, I’m not going to say anything. Maybe it’ll go away. I don’t know. I thought it was a weird, strange confluence of mistakes.”
Isaac Mizrahi received plenty of backlash at the time of the Golden Globes groping incident. He reportedly later apologized, saying, “If anyone was offended, I’m sorry.”
But it did not end his TV hosting career. Mizrahi went on to co-host Bravo’s the Fashion Show with Kelly Rowland, and later, Iman. He also worked as a red carpet correspondent for Live! With Kelly during the 84th Academy Awards in 2012, and currently serves as a head judge on Project Runway: All Stars, which is hosted by Alyssa Milano, one of the most vocal stars who helped spearhead the #MeToo movement.
You can see Isaac Mizrahi’s shocking Golden Globes moment with Scarlett Johansson below.
The 2019 Golden Globe Awards airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.