Alison Mackenzie Olivia Hussey Franco Zeffirelli Leonard Whiting Solomon Gresen film show reports song actor Solomonic Alison Mackenzie Olivia Hussey Franco Zeffirelli Leonard Whiting Solomon Gresen

'Romeo and Juliet' nude scene not considered child pornography, judge rules

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A judge tossed a lawsuit brought by the actors in Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet" on Thursday. Actors Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, who are now 72, originally claimed that a nude scene in the 1968 film was child pornography and that the pair had been sexually abused while filming it.

Superior Court Judge Alison Mackenzie ruled in favor of a motion from defendant Paramount Pictures to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Hussey, who played Juliet at age 15, and Whiting, who played Romeo at 16.

The judge ruled that the film scene was under the protection of the first amendment, explaining that Hussey and Whiting "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 "Romeo and Juliet" actors claimed that Zeffirelli originally told them they would not film nude and would wear flesh-colored garments instead.

However, when it came time to film the scene, the director allegedly insisted the two teenagers be nude, "or the Picture would fail." The film and its theme song were major hits at the time, and – despite the nude scene that briefly shows Whiting's bare buttocks and Hussey's bare breasts – it was played for generations of high school students studying Shakespeare's tragedy.

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