When Isaac Mizrahi Groped Scarlett Johansson at the Golden Globes in 2006

"This wasn't nasty. This was, 'Are you wearing a bra?'" Mizrahi said of the controversial moment. "In fittings I do that all the time."

While acting as an interviewer for E! on the red carpet, the designer grabbed the nominated actress' breast in a shocking moment that preceded the #MeToo debate by just over a decade.

Traditionally, odd things happen inside the Beverly Hilton's ballroom on Golden Globes night, but occasionally the weirdness leaks onto the red carpet, too. On Jan. 16, 2006, there was a troubling interaction between Isaac Mizrahi, then 44, and Scarlett Johansson, then 21.

Mizrahi was on the carpet as an interviewer for E!, Johansson was attending as a supporting actress nominee for Match Point. The interaction isn't in question: He grabbed her breast. What is in question: Why did he do it, and, as a gay fashion designer, was he any less culpable for groping her than a fashion-clueless straight male would have been?

Pre-Johansson, Mizrahi had pushed the usually vapid Globes-night-question boundaries by asking Teri Hatcher, Keira Knightley and others what kind of underwear, if any, they were wearing. With Eva Longoria, he wanted to know if "down there" was "shaved."

With Johansson, who THR noted was wearing "a red scoop neck Valentino gown with soft ruffles on the straps," Mizrahi wanted to know if there was a bra underneath. "It's all built in," she told him. "That's the Valentino way."

However, moving forward in an E! version of investigative journalism, Mizrahi gave the lower part of her left breast a firm squeeze and said, "I'm just taking notes for the next time I make a —" before he was cut off by Johansson, who at first said, "What is going on?!" and then, "Absolutely, take all the notes you want."

The actress later said that she was thinking, "Oh, my God. This is happening on live TV." But she also recalled, "People made a huge deal out of something that, in the moment, was not as exciting as it seemed afterward."

Mizrahi later said, "If anyone was offended, I'm sorry."

But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences felt the need to issue a very pointed statement. "I can predict we would be extraordinarily angry if that happened on our carpet," said spokesman John Pavlik. "I cannot predict what we would do afterward."

This story first appeared in the Jan. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.