Nudity in 1968 'Romeo and Juliet': Ex-teens' complaint dismissed

Nudity in 1968's “Romeo and Juliet”: The Complaint of the Exes -adolescents rejected


The complaint of the two actors who played Romeo and Juliet when they were teenagers in Franco Zeffirelli's film in 1968, and accused the studio of a scene of non-consensual nudity, was dismissed by an American judge on Thursday.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were 15 and 16 respectively when filming, the complaint states.

They had each been awarded a Golden Globe for their performance in this film.

Now in their seventies, the two actors had filed a complaint in December in California: they accuse the Paramount studio, which produced the film, of having sexually exploited them when they were still minors, by broadcasting an intimate scene which reveals their buttocks and their buttocks. bare chest.

On Thursday, a Los Angeles judge dismissed the complaint and agreed with Paramount, ruling that the scene in question did not fall under “child pornography”. The magistrate also ruled that the film was covered by the provisions protecting freedom of expression.

The plaintiffs did not present sufficient evidence demonstrating “that the film in question can be considered sufficiently sexually suggestive to be considered definitively illegal,” the judge wrote, in a decision reported by Variety.


This trade magazine had pointed out that Olivia Hussey had defended the offending scene in her columns during an interview in 2018. At the time, she believed that Franco Zeffirelli had shot it appropriately.

“It was necessary for the film,” she said at the time.

But in their complaint, the actor duo accused Italian director Franco Zeffirelli – who died in 2019. According to the document, the filmmaker heavily insisted that they shoot this scene, otherwise “the film was going to fail”, when it was originally supposed to be done with flesh-colored underwear.

The two actors explain that they had suffered from angst and emotional distress in the more than five decades following the film. They are claiming compensation amounting to several hundred million dollars.

Their lawyer “firmly denounced” the decision taken by the judge on Thursday. He announced his intention to bring the case soon before the American federal justice, in a statement sent to AFP.

“The exploitation and sexualization of minors in the film industry must be confronted and processed lawfully to protect vulnerable people,” he said.