‘Romeo and Juliet’ bed scene “is not child sexual exploitation”… Lead actor lawsuit dismissed

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A poster for the 1968 film Romeo and Juliet. (Source: Rotten Tomatoes)

A California court has dismissed a claim for damages of 500 million dollars (about 640 billion won) filed by two actors in the movie ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (1968) alleging that they were sexually exploited while filming a bed scene.

According to the New York Times (NYT) on the 25th, actors Olivia Hussey (72) and Leonard Whiting (73) were charged with filming for Paramount in 2022, alleging that director Franco Zeffirelli tricked actors who were underage at the time of filming and pressured them into filming nude. filed a lawsuit

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Husse and Yu Ting were minors at the time of filming, aged 15 and 16, respectively. At the time, director Zeffirelli said that he would wear skin-colored underwear before filming, but on the day of the actual filming, “You have to act naked. Otherwise, the movie will be ruined,” he confessed.

In the end, the final version of the film included a scene where parts of the body were exposed against the will of the two actors.

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The two actors said that Paramount, which was in charge of distributing the film, “was aware that the nude images were secretly and illegally filmed during the performance.” They argued through their lawyers that the footage amounted to “child pornography.”

In response, Paramount countered through lawyers, arguing that the scene was not lewd or provocative, and that it was too long ago to legally claim sexual exploitation.

The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim that the scene amounted to “child pornography.” The judge said that freedom of speech should be protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution, and that this is also related to film production.

In addition, even if the California Amendment Act, which temporarily suspends the statute of limitations for child sex crimes, was applied, it was not included in the scope.

Counsel for Hussey and Witing told AFP they “strongly condemn” the court’s decision and plan to fight it again in federal court in a few weeks.

The lawyers of the two actors said, “We firmly believe that individuals who are vulnerable to harm must be protected, and that legal solutions to sexual discrimination and exploitation of minors in the film industry must be achieved.”

Source: Donga

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