In an email interview with MTV, the film's co-writer Damon Lindelof addressed the scene.
Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God's name she would undress in that circumstance? Well, there's a very good answer for that. But I'm not telling you what it is. Because... uh... MYSTERY?
Lindelof continued to flippantly address the question by mentioning that a shirtless scene was written for Benedict Cumberbatch's character but wasn't filmed because "getting actors to take their clothes off is DEMEANING AND HORRIBLE."
Lindelof went to his Twitter and did apologize for his comments in the MTV interview.
I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress. We also had Kirk shirtless in underpants in both movies. Do not want to make light of something that some construe as mysogenistic. What I'm saying is I hear you, I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future. Also, I need to learn how to spell 'misogynistic.'
While I'm glad Lindelof did apologize, two things are still upsetting. One, he mentions having Kirk shirtless and in his underwear in both films. In the first film, I believe this was in the context of a sex scene--not just casually undressing while having a conversation with someone. Two, Lindelof is a smart guy, he's written great female characters before in Lost. I don't understand how he couldn't have immediately recognized this scene as problematic.
Let's hope he continues to be more mindful in the future. And continues to spell 'misogynistic' right.
Alice Eve lingerie in 'Star Trek' might be misogynistic, writer says (The Los Angeles Times)