The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media


O lawsuit, lawsuit

Paramount has recently received a lawsuit by the former stars of the Romeo and Juliet 1968 classic due to sexual exploitation.
Photo by: Roger Ebert

Many students who read the classic romance novel, Romeo and Juliet, ended up watching the 1968 live action adaptation. For those who have read the book, it is common knowledge that the characters Romeo and Juliet were fairly young in their story; around 14 years old. The book does not shy away from sharing the details of the two’s relationship, and neither did the film.

The two main actors who played Romeo and Juliet in the film are Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. According to Variety, when filming for the movie started, Whiting was sixteen years old and Hussey was only fifteen years old. Neither of the actors were of-age when they acted in nude scenes for the movie.

Showing the movie in classes could be seen as controversial in many ways, especially now regarding the lawsuit. This is because schools are showing a movie that contains nude scenes of high school-aged teenagers.

“There are so many different adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, it doesn’t feel necessary to continue using a version that displays exploitation of children,” Senior Kelsie MacMillan said. “I just think it’s not appropriate if there are so many other versions of Romeo and Juliet to continue showing this version.”

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Typically when it comes to filming nude scenes in movies, production takes extra steps to make sure that all cast members are comfortable. 

“The standard practice so far in the [film] business has been to clear the staff,” Iwona Awlasewicz, Sequoit Broadcasting Network advisor said. “Once the scene is set up, the lighting is set up, the cameras set up, makeup does their thing, all the staff leaves the set. Then, usually just the director and camera operator stay on the scene.”

Making sure that all cast members feel comfortable with the scene is the typical process for filming nude scenes in this decade, however, it is unsure if these protocols were taken during the production of the 1968 Romeo and Juliet film.

Though the Romeo and Juliet lawsuit seems like an issue of the past, there have been recent concerns rising in regards to the portrayal of underage children in movies and television shows.

Many popular shows depict high school age characters. Many of these shows contain nude scenes of underage characters, primarily teenagers. Some viewers of these shows do not seem to be that concerned with the sexualization of teenagers in the media, however, this is what could cause future problems with exploitation of underage kids.

“If they really feel they need a [nude] scene like that, it should be insinuated,” MacMillan said. “Don’t show the actors, even if they’re not actually child actors. If they’re portraying a child, it’s still strange.”

Hussey and Whiting originally asked for $100 million, however, they could be entitled to $500 million if the lawsuit goes through. By exposing past mistakes, this could prevent future exploitation in the filming industry.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Gaydovchik
Hannah Gaydovchik, Tom Tom Staff
Hannah Gaydovchik is a senior and this is her first year on staff. When she is not playing tennis, she is either listening to Taylor Swift, buying new clothes or working at Something Sweet in downtown Antioch.
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