Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Empire State Building suing East Village photographer for topless photo shoot


[Photo by Allen Henson]

The Empire State Building management has filed a $1.1 million lawsuit against East Village resident Allen Henson for taking photos of a topless Shelby Carter on the skyscraper's 86th floor observatory last Aug. 9.

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court, his actions "were unlawful … and caused ESB damage to its business and its reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attractions."

In addition, ESB officials said that they had to "divert management time, resources and attention to deal with the inappropriate objectionable conduct and potentially dangerous situation the defendant created."

The building's management is asking for a total of $1.1 million in damages and a court order barring Henson from returning to the building.

We asked Henson if he could say anything on the record about the lawsuit.

"Yes, they're being ridiculous."

(The Daily News has more on the lawsuit here.)

Last July, Henson photographed Cheyenne Lutek dining topless at Verso on Avenue C … as well as the Sushi Lounge. (A bit of a coincidence that both restaurants are now closed?)

Previously on EV Grieve:
Female diner decides to go topless last night at Verso

[NSFW] About the topless diner at Verso Sunday night

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any lawyer will want this case, it's a easy counter she for costs. Being topless isn't against the law, so nothing wrong or immoral was done...

Anonymous said...

I saw this guy the night after the ave c thing in a bodega bragging to an attractive girl and showing her his pic in The Post, so I find this funny.

Gojira said...

$1.1 million for boobs? Holy shit, what the hell is happening to this country? For God's sake, EVERYONE has seen them! And why do I not think the words "Empire State Building" and "family-friendly" need to be in the same sentence?

Anonymous said...

If a dude was photographed without his shirt on that spot would that be illegal as well? If a parent had to change a small child's diaper on the observation deck would that be indecent exposure. This story will only make the ESB management look like dicks and will back fire on them to no end.

Anonymous said...

Uggh! I hate having to standup for a guy who is so clearly, such a douchebag. But I guess I have to.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

The Empire state bldg is private property and Henson didn't bother filing the required-by-law application to do a photo shoot on private property. Property owners can turn down applications as the ESB said that it would have in Henson's case. No surprise there so that's probably a reason one wasn't filed. Nothing much came from pulling the same stunt at the EV restaurant except for lots of free publicity but this one came back to bite Henson in the ass.

Who know how the ESB came up with $1.1 million in damages. Not sure how this stuff works, but would imagine you ask high because a judge or jury will knock down the amount of your award. Then there's the legal fees. Ugh. Ugh ugh.

I feel sorry for anybody who'll have to sit on the jury for this POS -- there's plenty of douchiness on both sides here.

Sammy said...

@ anon 7:14: Hopefully you aren't actually a lawyer. What he did was against the rules of the private property he was on, therefore the lawsuit is legitimate. Frankly I'm glad he's being sued. The guy works pretty hard to get attention for his mediocre photography. Now he got someone's attention.

X said...

King Kong is more threatening.

Giovanni said...

It's pretty funny that the World's Biggest Phallic Symbol Is suing someone over a couple of much smaller naked boobs, it's not like the naked lady told the building it was too small or something!

The Empire State Building management is just trying to scare people away in order to stop copycats, or copytits, or Girls Gone Wild from doing the same thing. You wouldn't want all those breast-fed kids visiting from Ohio to see a bunch of naked boobs and then getting any ideas, it might stunt their development.

Glenn Belverio said...

It looks like a rather tacky photo shoot but it is true that toplessness for women in NYC is legal.

Anonymous said...

Sammy,

Good luck proving damages. I'm sure the photographer is really raking in the cash for this shoot.

Anonymous said...

The photographer is an attention whore looking to get a reaction for his unimaginative work. Lame stunts hoping for a shock reaction results in intense expensive lawsuit. Even if he wins he'll still pay a boatload in lawyer fees. I have no sympathy for him and hope he loses.

Anonymous said...

@Glenn
That's because NYC isn't (technically) "private property". Empire State Building, on the other hand, is.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Doubt he has a property release for the photos either, which if he's using the images for any sort of commercial enterprise (he is, as he's a professional photographer) he will have no case at all, beyond any allowances New York law makes for toplessness (which only applies to PUBLIC places, not private property).

pinhead said...

I accidentally Googled "gratuitous photo of boobies" and look where I ended up!

Anonymous said...

It is not against the law in NYC to be topless in a public space (just as it is not against the law to breastfeed!), so what the heck are they suing for???? Ridiculous is right.

Anonymous said...

So if it's not against the law to be topless in NYC, how can it be illegal to be topless at the Empire State?

Anonymous said...

8:01/9:36 - as others have said before, the ESB is private property and has its own set of regulations regarding unlicensed for-profit photoshoots. Though there may be ulterior motives, they are not suing because she was topless.

Anonymous said...

As a photographer who lives and works in the East Village: This guy is giving both the art and the neighborhood a bad name. There is a legacy of great artists that live and work from the 'hood and it is simply frustrating that this guy litters the press with his name to get more attention to his shitty work.

I get plenty of press each month for doing interesting art whereas this jackass is gathering whatever press he gets from getting some random girl to take her top off in public places for truly shitty shots. I'm not opposed to shooting nudity in public IF you actually make something that looks good. This is shit.

As for the lawsuit. That is shitty as well. I doubt he would have been able to sell or license the images so they really don't have a case. They will have to prove that he was working for-profit (and no publication or client with a budget would hire someone to take such shitty photos... maybe to do his other shitty work, but not this shitty topless shit her keeps doing).

Giovanni said...

What do you call a photographer who wanders around the streets of Manhattan and gets women to take off their tops in dimly lit hallways just so he can snap pictures of them for fun and profit? Ugly George. I wonder if this guy also has a basement apartment nicknamed "The Polish Penthouse?"

chris flash said...

1. Toplessness for women and men is legal EVERYWHERE in New York State, including on public and private property.

2. The Empire State Building is located in New York State.

Judgement for Plaintiff DENIED!!