‘Romeo and Juliet’ Stars Sue Paramount Pictures Over Sexual Exploitation in 1968 Film

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting are accusing Paramount Pictures of sexual harassment and fraud on 1968’s Romeo and Juliet

By Tommy McArdle – Published on January 3, 2023 05:15 PM – for People mag

My cmnt: Almost all of the child sexual abusers, pedophiles, sex-ploitaion, #MeToo, rapists and otherwise sexual predators are democrats. Click here for a list of the democrat men of #MeToo. Whether from Hollywood, the music and entertainment industry, TV or politics almost all of the sexual predators are democratic men.

PHOTO: BETTMANN/GETTY

The stars of 1968’s feature film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet are suing Paramount Pictures over the movie’s nude scene.

Last Friday, Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting filed a lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court in Calif., in which they accused the production company of sexual harassment, fraud, sexual abuse and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to legal documents obtained by PEOPLE.

The lawsuit stems from a scene in the movie that includes nude images of both actors, which were filmed when Hussey and Whiting were 15 and 16 years old, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint alleges that late director Franco Zeffirelli told the actors the film would not include nudity and used flesh-colored clothing for the scene in question — until he allegedly suggested the movie “would fail” unless the stars performed the scene nude while wearing body makeup on the last day of filming.

The complaint states that while Zeffirelli showed the actors where the camera would sit for the scene and told the pair that no nudity would be filmed or released in relation to the movie, they thought “they had no choice but to act in the nude with body makeup as demanded on the last day of filming.”

In the lawsuit, Hussey and Whiting allege that the director lied and that they were filmed nude without their knowledge.

“What they were told and what went on were two different things,” Tony Marinozzi, a business manager for the actors, told Variety in a statement Tuesday. “They trusted Franco. At 16, as actors, they took his lead that he would not violate that trust they had.”

ROMEO AND JULIET, Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting, 1968.
EVERETT

“Franco was their friend, and frankly, at 16, what do they do?” Marinozzi added in a statement to the outlet. “There are no options. There was no #MeToo.”

Hussey and Whiting’s attorney Solomon Gresen told Variety in an interview Tuesday that the actors “were very young naive children in the ’60s who had no understanding of what was about to hit them.”

“All of a sudden they were famous at a level they never expected, and in addition they were violated in a way they didn’t know how to deal with,” Gresen said.

 Actor Johnathon Schaech: I Was Molested by Director Franco Zeffirelli

The lawsuit states that both Hussey and Whiting have suffered “physical and emotional pain, along with extreme and severe mental anguish and emotional distress” in the decades since the movie’s release, as well as “a lifetime of loss of earnings and other employment benefits and job opportunities.”

The complaint states that the actors are seeking compensation “believed to be in excess of $500,000,000” to match the amount of money the film has earned since 1968.

According to Variety, the actors’ lawsuit relies on a recent California law that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations regarding claims of child sexual abuse that carried a Dec. 31, 2022 deadline.

Here are others from the same online issue of People

‘Romeo and Juliet’s Olivia Hussey Reveals She Was Raped in the Charles Manson Murder Home

It’s been 50 years since actress Olivia Hussey shot to fame in her role as doomed lover Juliet in 1968’s Romeo and Juliet and now the legendary star is opening up about memories, both happy and painful, in a new book, The Girl on the Balcony.

By Aili Nahas Published on July 25, 2018 09:59 AM – for People Magazine

It’s been 50 years since actress Olivia Hussey shot to fame in her role as doomed lover Juliet in 1968’s Romeo and Juliet and now the legendary star is opening up about memories, both happy and painful, in a new book, The Girl on the Balcony.

“It’s been quite a life,” Hussey, 67, tells PEOPLE of her journey. “I feel grateful that I survived it all.”

Born in Buenos Aires and raised in London, Hussey was just 15 years old when she nabbed the coveted role of Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s film, which became an international hit.

“So much happened so fast,” says Hussey. “It was overnight superstardom and I wasn’t prepared for it.”

Overwhelmed by the fame and attention, Hussey took a step back and focused on her budding relationship with Christopher Jones, a young actor whom she had met through her agent, Rudi Altobelli.

Coral Von Zumwalt
CORAL VON ZUMWALT

But soon after they began dating, Jones began to abuse her. “We were talking and his eyes glazed over and he punched me in the stomach,” Hussey says. The physical and emotional abuse continued, but Hussey stuck by him. “I was young, and I loved him,” she says. “I was very loyal.”

Around the same time, Hussey recalls her brief conversation with a pregnant Sharon Tate, who, along with her husband, Roman Polanski, was renting the Los Angeles home of Altobelli in the summer of 1969.

“I said to Sharon, ‘Rudy said we’re going to be best friends,'” Hussey says of their phone call. “She told me, ‘I’m so looking forward to meeting you, my baby is coming soon.’ She was so sweet.”

Hussey was planning to move to Los Angeles and into the guest house. “I was going to stay there and I’d get to help Sharon with the baby,” she says. “Then Rudi got the call.”

The call was to deliver the shocking news that Tate, along with four others, was murdered at Altobelli’s home on August 9 while he was away.

“I’ll never forget Rudi telling me,” says Hussey. “He said, ‘They’re all dead.’ It was terrible.”

But just five weeks after the murders, Hussey, who had summoned up the courage to break up with Jones, moved into the house.

“People would say, ‘How could you live there?'” she says. “I’d say, ‘In England, most of the houses have horrible memories. It’s not that big of a deal.'”

Says Hussey: “All I felt was Sharon’s vibration. And it was lovely. She’d left an orange scarf and I kept it on my prayer table for years.”

ROMEO AND JULIET, Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting, 1968.
EVERETT

But Hussey’s own nightmare had yet to happen.

One night, Jones showed up at the house and brutally attacked and raped her. “I didn’t know if he was going to kill me,” says Hussey. “My face was like a balloon. I had a bloody nose, my lip was split open, and I had a black eye. It was terrifying.”

Weeks later, Hussey, who told very few people about the attack (Jones died in 2014), discovered she was pregnant.

“I decided I could not have the baby,” she writes in the book of having a subsequent abortion. “It broke my heart…although I have never regretted it.”

Still, Hussey says now that the silver lining was falling in love with her future husband, Dean Paul Martin, the son of singer Dean Martin.

“I fell for him because of the way he treated me and took care of me,” says Hussey. The couple wed in 1971 and had one son, Alex, now 45. They split in 1979 but remained close friends until his tragic death in a plane crash in 1987.

Hussey had another son, 35-year-old Max, with her second husband, Japanese singer Akira Fuse, before meeting her current husband of 29 years, rocker David Glen Eisley, with whom she has a daughter India, 24.

“Everyone has their issues and their problems,” Hussey says of getting through dark times. “But I’m so happy to be where I am now.”

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