Leonard Whiting

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Leonard Whiting And Olivia Hussey File A Lawsuit Over ‘Sexual Assault’ In A 1968 Movie

Leonard Whiting

Romeo and Juliet’s Oscar-winning 1968 cast members, Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey are suing Paramount Pictures for alleged sexual abuse related to a sequence in which they participated in naked behavior.

When they made the movie, Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey were both young adults.

The English performers, who are now in their 70s, claim in a recent court case that director Franco Zeffirelli persuaded them to do naked scenes despite earlier promises that they wouldn’t have to.

The claim has not received a public response from Paramount yet. Based on the hardship they claim to have gone through and the money the movie has made since its premiere, the two actors are requesting damages totaling more than $500 million (£417 million).

They assert that Zeffirelli, who passed away in 2019, promised them at first that they would wear underwear with a flesh tone in the bedroom scene.

However, they claim the director informed them they would only wear body makeup the morning of the shoot and assured them the camera would be placed to not capture nudity.

Hussey’s exposed breasts and Whiting’s bare buttocks were briefly displayed during the scene in the finished movie.

According to their lawsuit, Zeffirelli instructed them to perform in the naked position “otherwise the picture would fail” and harm their careers. The performers “felt they had no choice but to perform in the body painted as required”

Whiting, then 16 years old, is now 72, while Hussey, then 15 years old, is now 71. The two are suing Paramount for fraud, sexual assault, and harassment.

The Hollywood studio is charged in the lawsuit with sexually abusing the two young performers and disseminating pictures of young youngsters in their underwear.

According to the court document, Whiting and Hussey have endured years of emotional distress and mental suffering as a result of how they were handled.

The movie was a tremendous hit when it came out and has since been viewed by countless students who are studying the Shakespeare play.

It was nominated for four Oscars—two of which were for best costume design and cinematography—including best director and best picture.

Under a California law that temporarily delayed the statute of limitations for child sex abuse, which generally prohibits action once a specific amount of time has passed, the complaint was filed on Friday in Santa Monica Superior Court.

Numerous new lawsuits have been filed in response to the suspension, as well as numerous dismissed actions that have now been reopened.

The two actors’ business manager, Tony Marinozzi, told BBC News that the director and the studio had “betrayed” them.

He claimed that the two delayed acting because they worried about the consequences for their careers and that they would not be believed.

To persuade people to listen, he said, “there just wasn’t any way for them to deliver that tale at that time.”

Despite the movements spurred by #MeToo and other platforms, there just wasn’t a method to share that narrative back then. As a result, they have had to deal with it and likely will do so for the rest of their lives.

The two’s attorney, Solomon Gresen, added in a statement: “It is forbidden to display naked pictures of children and should be avoided.

“These were really young, impressionable kids in the 1960s who had no idea what was about to happen.

“They were suddenly assaulted in a way they didn’t know how to handle, and they became renowned at a level they never expected.”

Hussey defended the nude scene in a 2018 interview with Variety

She added that Zeffirelli shot it nicely, adding that “nobody my age had done that before.” It was required for the movie.

The sequence was “taboo” in the US, she claimed in a separate interview with Fox News from the same year, although nudity was prevalent in European movies at the time.

It wasn’t a huge deal, she claimed. “Leonard was also not at all reserved. I just completely forgot that I was naked while we were filming.”

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