The actors of the film 'Romeo and Juliet' (1968) file a complaint for sexual exploitation - LINFO.re

The actors of the film ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (1968) file a complaint for sexual exploitation – LINFO.re

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, stars of the 1968 film ‘Romeo and Juliet’, filed a lawsuit in Santa Monica, California. Currently in their seventies, they accuse the Paramount studio, producer of the feature film, of having sexually exploited them when they were minors.

A multi-award winning film

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were 15 and 16 respectively when filming ‘Romeo and Juliet‘ carried out by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968, and produced by Paramount Pictures. The two teenagers filed a complaint against the studio for a scene of non-consensual nudity, their lawyer said on Tuesday, January 3. In addition, you should know that for their performance in the feature film, the two stars had won a Golden Globe. The film also won two Oscars: Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design.

The complaint states, according to national media as Le Figaro, that Franco Zeffirelli (deceased in 2019) heavily insisted that the two young people shoot this nude scene. The complaint accuses officials of ‘Romeo and Juliet‘ to have been “dishonest and secretly filming naked or partially naked minors without their consent, in violation of laws (…) regulating indecency andsexual exploitation minors”.

Anxiety and emotional distress

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey would then have suffered from anxiety and emotional distress for several years. The two actors claim compensation of several hundred million dollars (500 million according to some media). Their lawyer insisted that his clients’ distress has endured over time, and a new version of the film has been released…

Paramount “has images of naked minors that they know should be removed from the film”he denounced, and “Sexual images of children are serious and should not be tolerated”.

However, Variety magazine recalled that in 2018, Olivia Hussey had defended the famous scene by considering at the time that “it was necessary for the film”.

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