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Romeo and Juliet actors revive child abuse lawsuit over ‘traumatic’ nude scene filmed over 55 years ago
Featured Image Credit: Getty Images / Instagram/@oliviahusseyeisley

Romeo and Juliet actors revive child abuse lawsuit over ‘traumatic’ nude scene filmed over 55 years ago

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting have revived their lawsuit over the 1968 film

The two stars of the 1968 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet have revived a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures and distribution company Criterion Collections.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting revived the lawsuit on Wednesday (15 February) in relation to a nude scene in the movie which was filmed when both actors were in their teens.

The actors, who are now both in their 70s, allege that director Franco Zeffirelli misled them about nude scenes in the film.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the distribution rights for the film only covered 35mm analogue film, and not in any other format.

The suit alleges that a digital version of the film is now being distributed in 'extremely high definition'.

The suit argues: “Hussy’s and Whiting’s private areas shown in those photographs were arguably obscured by their extremely low resolution of that presentation in the Original Work."

However, they are now arguing that the high-definition version of the scene means that this argument does not apply.

The higher image resolution means that Hussey's breasts and Whiting’s behind are exposed in the scene, the suit alleges.

The actors have revived a lawsuit.
CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

It states: “Hussey and Whiting acquiesced in the inclusion of the Original Photos in the Original Work … because [the two] did not feel that the presentation … so far exceeded Zeffirelli’s undertaking as to be actionable as breach of that undertaking."

It continued: “Our fight for accountability will now involve a new lawsuit and a more rigorous effort in the media, which up until this time we had sought to avoid.

“The facts, evidence, and law are all crystal clear in this matter, and we believe that over half a century of mental incarceration for this traumatic event has been quite enough.”

The two actors had previously attempted to sue Paramount last year under allegations of the distribution of nude imagery of children and sexual exploitation.

A still from Romeo and Juliet.
Bettmann / Contributor / Getty

However, a judge threw out the case, claiming that the images in the film could not be classified as child sexual abuse images, and pointing out that they had missed a deadline in their filing.

Superior Court Judge Alison Mackenzie ruled that the scene was protected by First Amendment rights.

She argued that the actors “have not put forth any authority showing the film here can be deemed to be sufficiently sexually suggestive as a matter of law to be held to be conclusively illegal.”

When the movie was filmed, Hussey was 15-years-old and Whiting was 16-years-old.

UNILAD has reached out to Paramount for comment.

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