We had earlier reported that the actors of Romeo and Juliet (1968), Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, have filed a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures accusing them of sexually exploiting them and distributing nude images of adolescent children. The director of the film, Franco Zeffirelli, is not one of the defendants, as he passed away in 2019.
On behalf of Franco, his son Pippo Zeffirelli has publicly condemned the two lead actors’ decision to sue Paramount Pictures for the nude scene in the film. In a statement Pippo gave to The Hollywood Reporter, he had written, “It is embarrassing to hear that today, 55 years after filming, two elderly actors who owe their notoriety essentially to this film wake up to declare that they have suffered an abuse that has caused them years of anxiety and emotional discomfort.”
He added that he believed the film’s two producers, John Brabourne and Anthony Havelock-Allan, acquired consent forms from the actors’ parents before the shoot. The lawsuit filed by the actor alleges that director Zeffirelli vouched that there would be no nudity in the film and that they would be wearing body-colored undergarments in that particular bedroom scene. Hussey was 15 at the time, while Whiting was 16. The complaint alleges that the actors were filmed nude without their knowledge.