Allen Henson, Photographer of Topless Ladies, Countersues Empire State Building for $5 Million

Henson_Carter_Empire_State_2.jpg
Photo by Allen Henson
In January, photographer Allen Henson was awoken one morning by a tabloid reporter bearing the news that the Empire State Building was suing him for a million dollars. Henson's sueable offense, according to the company, was taking a topless photo of Shelby Carter, who you see above, thus harming the building's reputation as family-friendly entertainment.

At the time, the amount of money, as well as Empire State's insistence that the photos were a "commercial venture," though Henson hadn't made any money from them, he said, struck him as a little weird.

"I would really like to take this seriously, but it just feels like somebody got drunk last night and said, 'Fuck it, let's sue him for a million dollars,'" he told us.

Henson must be in a "fuck it" mood of his own, because today he sent a group of reporters his answer to the suit, which countersues the company for $5 million.

- See also: Allen Henson, Photographer of Topless Ladies, Not Sure What's Up with the Empire State Building's $1 Million Lawsuit

Henson points out in his suit, as he has in an interview with us, that he and Carter bought tickets to go to the Empire State Building's observatory, went up there, took a few pictures, and left voluntarily. They were never asked to leave and no other visitors, that he noticed, clutched their offspring to their bosoms and shouted, "YOU'RE RUINING THIS PLACE AS A SOURCE OF SAFE, FAMILY-FRIENDLY ENTERTAINMENT FOR ME AND MY FAMILY."

Henson says in his filing that he and Carter were engaged in "peaceful, lawful activities. He adds that the attraction has suffered more harm from the "30-plus suicide attempts from the Observatory Deck, most recently in 2011."

If accusing the building of being a suicide magnet wasn't quite a sharp enough poke in the eye, Henson also accuses the company of trampling his free speech rights: "The law protects defendant's and other artist's rights to photograph public buildings." The allegations that he was creating a dangerous environment, he adds, are "false and defamatory," and thus, worth $5 million. Plus attorney fees.

Henson's statement on his lawsuit, delivered via Twitter, is pretty to-the-point:


Click through to read Henson's full counter-suit.


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23 comments
goldiecandela.85
goldiecandela.85

Sad to know so many people are offended by the female body. News for you especially the women who are saying how "Harmful" this is. Maybe it's time you look at your self in the mirror, your whole self. Nudity is NOT pornographic. She's merely without a shirt, NOT performing sexual acts. It's the most natural state one can be in. The suit is silly and will most like not hold up due to state laws. 

frank124c
frank124c topcommenter

I hope Henson wins. There is no law against females being topless and besides Henson was practicing his freedom of expression. I think females need to assert their rights to be topless, how about a day in which all females in New York City remove their tops. Call it Topless Tuesday or something!

keysatyate
keysatyate

The case may lack merit - but this guy is a publicity-seeking idiot and his CounterSuit is far more frivolous than the direct case against him. He's not doing legitimate artists any great favors here.

Jasmin Velez
Jasmin Velez

Seriously...how is the human body inherently so bad that you can get into a lawsuit over it?

rzfimages
rzfimages

It's legal for a woman to be topless in NYC. I'm no lawyer, but not really sure there are grounds here for the Empire State Building's suit. If it was a topless man they wouldn't have said jack! Hope Allen wins the countersuit for freedom of speech at the very least. 


Besides people, what's more dangerous? Boobs or a gun? Or a jumper, who could kill someone below if they fell on someone? 


The late George Carlin would have had a field day with this one!

Bora Ciftci
Bora Ciftci

Camideki bira şişesi için örnek teşkil edebilir mi ki?

Jay Rose
Jay Rose

Might be tacky and a lack of morality but the law is the law. Besides most families who walk around NYC streets see worse than this 10x over each and every day, especially in Time Square which is one of the hot spot tourist attractions.

Cecilia Grace Figueroa
Cecilia Grace Figueroa

Ohhhh my. Kids subjected to boobs! Quick, run for cover! Parents subject them to far worse!

Lorenzo Cortez
Lorenzo Cortez

So if you were up there with your wife and young kids,you would have had no problem with this at all? I don't recall seeing it on my ticket that kids would be subjected to nudity up there!

Brian Neuls
Brian Neuls

Topless women isn't illegal in New York. When is the right 'time' and 'place'? The one you designate? Why is this inherently bad?

Lorenzo Cortez
Lorenzo Cortez

Is he serious! Where's his next topless shoot going to be? TOYS R US? There's a time and place for everything, but this wasn't it.

Brian Neuls
Brian Neuls

I wonder if they would have sued a photographer taking a photo of a topless man.

GlockH.PalinEsq.
GlockH.PalinEsq.

@keysatyate"...his CounterSuit is far more frivolous than the direct case against him."

THAT'S THE POINT. His suit is not intended to go to judgement, his suit is intended to draw attention to how absurd the whole situation is, and to hopefully embarrass ESRT into dropping the matter to avoid the bad press.

GlockH.PalinEsq.
GlockH.PalinEsq.

"...a lack of morality..."

Yes, the human breast is truly a bottomless font of vile evil.

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