Photographer sued for $1,1 million over topless shoot at Empire State Building
|The Empire State Building. Photo: FLSmith|
The owners of New York City's Empire State Building are suing a photographer for $US1.1 million over a set of topless photos taken from the skyscraper's observation deck.
January 14, 2014 /Photography News/ Last August, a model climbed to the crowded observation deck and took her top off as photographer Allen Henson captured the image on his cell phone. The photo went viral on the internet and angered the owners of the Empire State Building who said the observation deck was full of tourists, including children, at the time the photo was taken.
In a $1 million lawsuit, the managers allege the pictures were produced for photographer's "own commercial purpose" and damaged the landmark's "reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction", The New York Post reports. In the suit building representatives claim that Henson did not apply for the required permission to conduct a nude photo shoot on the observation deck. They called the shoot an objectionable and inappropriate activity that never would have been allowed. The lawsuit also seeks to ban Henson from the building.
Henson counters that the building's guards had no reaction to his "social experiment," and he wasn't holding a professional shoot. "I am a professional photographer, but that doesn't mean that every time I touch a device with a camera on it I must be conducting a photo shoot," he told Reuters.
"It was not done to negate anybody's brand," he said, adding he snapped the pics with his cell phone. He said none of the other visitors voiced any objection to the shoot.
"She has nice breasts but people were looking at the view. It was a beautiful day," he said. "I don't think anybody noticed, to be honest."
Henson is no stranger to controversy. He previously photographed model Cheyenne Lutek, 19, exposing her bare breasts at a Manhattan restaurants while astounded patrons looked on - before she was asked to leave.