Empire State Building Management Files a $1.1M Lawsuit Over Topless Photo Shoot


The owners of the Empire State Building have sued a New York fashion photographer for $1.1 million after he snapped topless photos of a model on the observation platform without permission.

ESRT Empire State Building claims in its suit, filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court, that by having model Shelby Carter bare her breasts during the shoot on at the tower’s 86th-floor observation deck, photographer Allen Henson damaged the facility’s “reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction.”

The company notes in the suit that throngs of visitors, including children, were present at the time of the Aug. 9, 2013 shoot, and that Henson used the facility without permission. The building owner wants $1.1 million in damages and an order barring Henson from the premises.

Henson — a combat veteran-turned-photographer who has shot for major magazines and ad campaigns — has attracted extra attention recently with what he calls his “boobs around town” project, in which he challenges social mores and New York City laws on public exposure by having models flash their breasts in restaurants and other public spots.

He told the Daily Mail that the Empire State project/stunt went smoothly and — far from traumatizing young minds — generated little attention from the throngs of tourists there. “People were looking at the view … It was a beautiful day. I don’t think anybody noticed, to be honest.”

Henson seems to be taking the lawsuit in stride, posting on his Facebook page: “I need a large platoon; about 50 topless girls to accompany me to the NY Supreme Court.”

(via Daily Mail)

Image credit: Photograph by Allen Henson

  • amonkeyinmypocket

    Congratulations on completely missing the sarcasm.

    You’re either being intentionally stupid by saying that arm skin is no different than the skin on a chest (breasts), or you’re genuinely stupid.

  • Dejan Smaic

    What a PR coup for the photographer!

  • Snarkasaurus

    That’s a lot of conjecture. Since we’re pulling theories out of our asses, I’m willing to bet if a man was topless up there at some point he would have been asked to leave.

  • Snarkasaurus

    Oh boy, one of these geniuses. Some animals eat their young, most practice incest and rape indiscriminately. Let’s definitely use them as examples, because that comparison doesn’t fall apart almost immediately…

  • James

    Ehh, you’d be surprised.

  • James

    I think It’s security camera footage. Probably sold it to a news outlet. you can clearly see him with his DSLR taking the real pictures.

  • James

    FYI men can be milked.

  • James

    It does mean not needing to bow to your idea of shame.

  • photographer

    please, if your ever in the south florida area/MIAMI i would love to either join you and/or be one of the assistants for the “boobs around town” down here. i have done a few nude female shoots on MIAMI-BEACH. i could show you some of my work. please let me know when your headed down this way and btw your work is awesome, i wish i was half that good. HHO

  • photographer

    and oh ya, was there a settlement yet, has been what a few months or so? just asking. this would be funny to the jury, but in saying that, they could have a case, it is private property? then again there is public access, this is a no brainer, fill the jury with photographers it would be a slam dunk, for the one with the cameras.

    this i think is a case where the ones with the big bucks is attempting to take away the rights of the one that may not have big pockets, and most of the time the damn courts let em get away with this crap! heck bro, anyone with half a brain knows the owners of that building had no injury, etc. screw them and their high priced lawyers! HHO

  • Robert Chartier

    No big deal, just people with no life creating drama.

  • Robert Chartier

    Looks to me like the highlight of the view and a FREE bonus view for the spectators that just over paid $54.00 just to stand up there to see the air pollution and polluted Hudson river. My family would have got a big kick out of a no admission fee topless photo shoot. We would have been taking photos with the model for FUN!

  • Technocrat

    It is a universal idea of shame. Isn’t it yours?