After five decades after the Oscar-winning film, Romeo and Juliet (1968), actors Olivia Hussey (71) and Leonard Whiting (72) have sued paramount pictures for over $500 million for alleged sexual abuse and fraud.
Olivia Hussey (71) and Leonard Whiting (72) were then 15 and 16 years old, at the time of the filming of the movie. Presently they have sued the Paramount Pictures Studio in Los Angeles Country Superior Court for fraud, sexual harassment and sexual abuse.
The complainants have claimed that they were manipulated and pushed into a world of lies and deception, the alleged scene depicts a bed scene of Romeo and Juliet together after getting married.
Franco Zeffirelli, Director of Romeo and Juliet
The actor suit alleged that the director of the movie-Franco Zeffirelli had said that they will wear flesh-coloured clothing in that particular scene but instead they were told to wear nothing except the body makeup on the day of the shoot, and the camera will be placed on such a way that it will show no nudity.
However, the scene does show both the actors partially naked and thus the suit now claims that they were filmed without their knowledge. Thus it has resulted in the flouting of laws against indecency and exploitation of children. The suit also states that the director of the movie-Franco Zeffirelli had told the actors that they should act nude otherwise the movie will not be successful in cinemas. The actors thought they were left with no choice but to act in nude body make-up as was demanded in the movie.
As reported by the Guardian, ‘The suit has alleged that the pair has suffered mental anguish and emotional distress over the years and which has resulted in a loss of job opportunities
Both Olivia Hussy (71) and Leonard Whiting (72) had won Golden Globes, but they claim that the success experienced by them wasn’t equal to what the movie saw. The film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet still remains a classic and it serves as a case study for American Schoolchildren.
Tony Marinozzi, business manager for the actors stated” What went on and what they had been told, were two separate things which occurred at the set”. The teenage actors trusted the director [Franco Zeffirelli] that he will not violate the trust they had in him. Since Franco was considered their friend, at that time there was no “#MeToo” Movement, at the moment Paramount pictures is yet to react to the suit, while the director Zeffirelli was laid to rest in 2019.
Read More:- Is Ranveer Singh a part of the BTS ARMY?
So! Why the lawsuit has been filed now?
The state of California in the year 2020 gave its people a three-year window to file complaints on matters pertaining to child sexual abuse even if the statute of limitation for their case has expired. The deadline for filing the suit was 31 December and on 30 December Whiting and Hussey filled the suit, the suit also states that after 31 December people over 40 cannot file cases for the sexual abuse they suffered when they were children in California State.