NSFW: Empire State Building owners sue photographer for $1.1 million for topless pics

empire state building
The owners of the Empire State Building are suing photographer Allen Henson for taking topless photos.
Credit: Allen Henson

Photographer Allen Henson was very surprised when a reporter informed him on Monday that the owners of the Empire State Building were suing him for $1.1 million. “I said whatever, joker, so I hung up the phone and looked up a couple of things and sure enough [the reporter] sent me the documents,” Henson told Metro.

The owners of the iconic building are suing Henson after he posted a photo of a topless woman on the observation deck on Instagram. They claim Henson damaged the building’s reputation as a family-friendly tourist spot when he took the photos in August.

Henson, 29, said he has made no money off of the photos he took with his phone and they have not been published commercially in any way. “The building has been there since 1931 – it’s an icon,” he said. “A cell phone picture I took is a fly in the windshield. No one was really hurt here.” Henson said he even checked to see if there were children before model Shelby Carter bared her breasts. It is legal in New York for women to go topless.

Henson has snapped plenty of photos of topless women in public. “You can’t arrest a woman for being topless, so then there all of these nuances for a woman being topless in various situations,” Henson explained. “It looks out of place so it’s interesting all of a sudden. The aesthetic is interesting and the politics behind it are very interesting.”

Henson said he has been flooded with supportive e-mails since news broke of the lawsuit. “Nobody seems to be upset,” he said. “They all think this is completely absurd. I just got an e-mail from a 60-year-old grandmother in Texas saying she’s not the least bit offended and that it hasn’t taken away from the family-friendly environment of the building.”

Henson hasn’t received anything from the Empire State Building owner’s lawyers yet, but he said he’s working on a plan. He wrote on his Facebook page an hour ago, “I need a large platoon; about 50 topless girls to accompany me to the NY Supreme Court.” Henson said he has already received several e-mails from volunteers. “I don’t think we’ll have any shortage of participants,” he said.

Click through the NSFW gallery below to see the uncensored version of the above photo and others photos by Henson of topless women in public spaces.

728,316729,316732,316730,316736″]
Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."