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Olivia Hussey Sues Paramount For Child Exploitation & Sexual Abuse

Movies, News

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were just 15 and 16 years old when they starred in the 1968 Romeo and Juliet film. Now, 55 years later, the actor and actress have filed a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures suing for both child sexual abuse and exploitation. Within the lawsuit, the actor and actress who are now in their 70s claim they were assured by director Franco Zeffirelli that the film would not contain any nudity.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting sue Paramount Pictures

According to TheWrapthe Romeo and Juliet stars filed a $100M lawsuit against Paramount Pictures on Friday. The lawsuit was filed just before their child sexual abuse claims reached their statutes of limitations. Presently, multiple outlets confirm Paramount Pictures has yet to issue a statement regarding the lawsuit.

Within the lawsuit documents, the actor and actress argue that the director (who passed away a few years ago) reassured them the final cut of the film would not contain any nudity. Originally, Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting claim they were supposed to wear undergarments that were flesh-toned during the bedroom scene.

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey - Flickr
Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey – Flickr

When it came time to film the scene, the actor and actress noted that Franco Zeffirelli pressured them into performing the scene with body makeup instead of clothing. Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting recall the director taking the time to show them what the cameras would be focused on and reassuring them that the nudity wouldn’t make it into the film.

Their business manager says this was a different time

Speaking to Varietytheir business manager Tony Marinozzi explains that what they were told did not match up with what actually happened.

At 16, as actors, they took his lead that he would not violate that trust they had. Franco was their friend, and frankly, at 16, what do they do? There are no options. There was no #MeToo.”

Tony Marinozzi made it a point to mention that this was a different time and underage actors had a lot less protection when this film was created.

The lawsuit argues that both Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting missed out on a lot of opportunities because of a scene that was never supposed to make it into the movie.

Olivia Hussey involvement in the lawsuit is shocking

Both Variety and Deadline report that Olivia Hussey’s involvement in the lawsuit is a bit of a shock as she’s said things over the years that contradict her having any issue with the scene. In 2018, Olivia noted she did not think the nudity scene was “that big of a deal” while she was promoting her memoir. Around the same time, she also told Variety the scene was shot in a tasteful manner and it was something most actors and actresses her age had to do stating “it was needed for the film.”

Olivia Hussey - Wikimedia Commons
Olivia Hussey – Wikimedia Commons

Unsurprisingly, the internet has pretty mixed feelings about this lawsuit. Some people think filing a lawsuit 55 years after the fact is going to punish the wrong people. Others, however, argue that the actor and actress were just teenagers at the time and they should have been protected.

What do you think about this lawsuit? Let us know in the comments down below.

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