Romeo and Juliet cast’s lawsuit dismissed

Romeo and Juliet cast’s lawsuit dismissed

Closely linked to this day: Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey at a festival in 2018
Image: dpa

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting have filed a lawsuit against a scene in “Romeo and Juliet” that showed bare breasts and a butt after California changed its laws in the wake of the MeToo movement.

Nfter the allegations of sexual exploitation of the young protagonists in the 1968 Shakespeare film “Romeo and Juliet”, there is no trial. A Los Angeles court announced on Thursday that it would dismiss actors Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting’s lawsuit.

The two had claimed to have been forced into nude scenes during filming by the late director Franco Zeffirelli. The then 16-year-old Juliet actress Hussey can be seen in the film drama from Paramount Pictures with bare breasts, the Romeo actor Whiting, then 17 years old, with a bare bottom.

“Lack of sexual innuendo” in controversial scene

The court based its dismissal of the lawsuit for at least $100 million in damages on “lack of sexual innuendo” in the controversial bed scene. In addition, not every depiction of naked minors is child pornography.

Triggered by the MeToo movement, the state of California temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for sexually assaulting minors. Hussey and Whiting, now in their 70s, filed a civil lawsuit against Paramount 55 years after filming shortly before the so-called Lookback Window was closed late last year.

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