February 3, 2023

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Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting – who both starred in Romeo and Juliet in 1968 when they were 15 and 16 respectively – have sued Paramount Pictures for more than $500 million.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in LA County Superior Court, alleges sexual abuse, harassment and fraud. This is due to the circumstances of the film’s nude scene. At first, director Franco Zeffirelli told the two teen stars that they only had to wear nude underwear for the scene, but the underwear changed to body makeup and eventually a promise that the camera would be positioned to avoid their nudity to show. Zeffirelli told them that if they weren’t nude for the film, it would fail.

Despite Zeffirelli’s promise, Hussey’s bare breasts and Whiting’s bare buttocks made it into the final cut of the film, which the lawsuit alleges violated California and state child exploitation laws. The lawsuit seeks damages for decades of suffering caused by the film’s release and comes with a slew of other new lawsuits being filed under a temporary California law that suspends the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse.

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