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
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.