Gene Maddaus Senior Media Writer A judge on Thursday said she will throw out a lawsuit over a nude scene in the 1968 version of “Romeo and Juliet,” after finding that the film is protected by the First Amendment.
The stars of the film, Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, filed the suit in December, alleging that they were coerced by director Franco Zeffirelli into performing nude in the film’s bedroom scene.
Hussey was 16 at the time of filming; Whiting was 17. Judge Alison Mackenzie granted Paramount’s motion to throw out the suit, finding that the plaintiffs had not complied with the provisions of a California law that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims.
Mackenzie also rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the nude scene amounted to “child pornography.” “Plaintiffs 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,” the judge wrote. “Plaintiffs’ argument on the subject is limited to cherry-picked language from federal and state statutes without offering any authority regarding the interpretation or application of those statutory provisions to purported works of artistic merit, such as the award-winning film at issue here.” Paramount sought to dismiss the suit under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which is intended to weed out frivolous lawsuits that suppress free speech.Read more on variety.com