Marvin Gaye’s family have accused Pharrell Williams of committing perjury, after the star made comments during an interview with GQ magazine which appeared to directly contradict what he said in his deposition during his “Blurred Lines” lawsuit.
Gaye’s heirs took Pharrell and Robin Thicke, who co-wrote and performed on the song, to court in 2015 after accusing them of copying their late father’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” for the hit. After winning the case, the Motown legend’s estate was awarded a massive $7.4 million (£5.2 million) verdict, but the figure was later reduced to $5.3 million (£3.7 million).
The ruling appeared to signal the end of the case, and Pharrell opened up about the lawsuit during an interview with GQ magazine published in early November (2019), in which he told Rick Rubin that when he finds a song he likes, he “reverse engineers” the feeling he gets from listening to that tune.
“I did that in ‘Blurred Lines’ and got myself in trouble,” he admitted.
Gaye’s family have stated that this is evidence that Pharrell perjured himself, as he’d said during his deposition as part of the lawsuit, “I did not go in the studio with the intention of making anything feel like, or to sound like, Marvin Gaye.”
They are now asking U.S. District Court Judge John Kronstadt to reconsider his decision not to award millions in attorneys’ fees.
“Williams made intentional, material misrepresentations to the jury and this Court as part of an unconscionable scheme to improperly influence the jury and the Court in their decisions,” the heirs, represented by litigator Richard Busch, stated in their motion for relief. “Nothing was more central to this case than whether ‘Got To’ or Marvin Gaye was on Williams’s mind while he was engaged in creating ‘Blurred’.”
“That fact was central to the issue of whether Williams and Thicke illegally copied ‘Got To’ and whether their copying was wilful, and they knew it. It was also central to their defence of ‘independent creation’. And it became central in this Court’s analysis of whether to award attorneys’ fees… The November 4, 2019 Interview now flies in the face of those previous sworn denials.”
Pharrell has yet to respond to the latest development.