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