I remember watching a TV show many years ago where young female models were competing to see who would win (Australia's Top Model)?

Anyway, the show isn't that relevant. However, there was a scene where the models had to undress outside for a photo shoot. There happened to be a few (all male) construction workers nearby who could see the girls in full view - that is, there didn't seem to be clothing screens or anything that would protect the girls from view.

The scene struck me because the construction workers kept staring at the girls, and the girls were clearly agitated at the situation - they were literally screaming / swearing at the men to stop looking at them. The men refused, and kept looking, some with smiles on their faces.

Ignoring any moral issues, I couldn't work out who was legally "in the right" here. Can a person who is in such an uncomfortable situation demand that another person stop looking at them? What if the observer refuses - have they broken some law by doing so?

In case it's relevant, I note the following:

  1. Some of the girls may have been underage (i.e. under 16)
  2. Only the camera crew was videoing the scene (i.e. the men weren't taking photos of the girls or anything like that)
  3. There is a possibility I'm misremembering and the construction workers and the girls were on separate balconies with one facing the other. I'm not sure if because they would be on "private" property (but still in full view of the public) that this would change matters?
  4. The jurisdiction is NSW, Australia, however I'd be interested to know if there would be very different interpretations in other jurisdictions around the world

It seems to me that from my rudimentary legal knowledge the following is at play:

  1. Both parties are effectively in a public space, and since neither party is filming, there is no restriction to "look" - consent would only be required to film
  2. Similarly, I don't think anyone has a right to privacy in a public space
  3. The show / camera crew could be at fault for exposing (potential) minors in a state of undress in public, with no effort made to conceal them
  4. The girls could be liable for exhibitionism since knowing that they couldn't be concealed, they didn't refuse (presumed) instructions to undress. However, you could possibly argue that it wasn't their choice since they had to comply with their (presumed) contract with the show to do what is asked of them (within reason)

Therefore, assuming such a case went to court, I'd assume that:

  1. The men did nothing wrong merely by looking (I don't think "voyeurism" is illegal, if it even applies here?)
  2. The girls could potentially be liable for both verbal abuse and (underage?) exhibitionism
  3. The show would be in all kinds of hot water for public nudity (of a minor?), filming nudity (of a minor?) in a public space, and I'm sure a bunch of other stuff

What would happen if such a case actually went to court? What laws are at play here, who would be in the right, who would get punished, and under what offences?

  • 1
    There's also the possibility it was all staged to boost viewer ratings and audience titillation
    – user35069
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 8:09
  • Definitely possible, it is entertainment TV after all. But it really struck me that the girls were incredibly emotional and agitated - it really didn't seem like an act, and besides they weren't the greatest "actors" :)
    – Arj
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 8:33
  • I guess maybe that's why it triggered me to ask the question - whether that specific event was real or not, in a similar "real" event, what would happen?
    – Arj
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 8:34
  • 1
  • @Arj, Just because the contestants were agitated and emotional, doesn't mean that the "construction workers" weren't hired by the show for the job. And while IANAL, a quick search shows that the relevant law would be "Obscene Exposure", which requires "wilfully and obscenely expose his or her person". This would seem to protect the girls from that charge.
    – Peter M
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


I would say if anyone is at fault here, it's the film crew who did not protect the girl's privacy enough. Of course, they intended to film them nude and broadcast that, so they probably didn't really care. The nude girls would be shown to a broad audience anyway, so a few workers don't really make a difference.

Stripping nude isn't a crime in most of Europe, if it's not exhibitionism. I'm assuming that was not the case, because then the film crew would actually be filming a porn movie. Nudity can get you into trouble for public harassment, but obviously, the workers weren't harassed at all. In fact, they liked it. The girls didn't like being watched, which is foremost their problem. Being ashamed is not a crime. They could just cover themselves to solve the issue.

Next time, they maybe should have read the contract they where entering more closely.

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    "Next time, they maybe should have read the contract they where entering more closely." IANAL, but my understanding in the US is that minors cannot sign contracts, so it is their parents/agents who should have read more closely and better represented the presumed minors' interests, Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 10:31
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    @BenHocking Good point, but whether minors can sign a contract will depend on the nature of the contract. Obviously, minors can buy themselves something to eat, which is technically also a contract.
    – PMF
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 10:45
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    @BenHocking minors can sign contracts - they can also void them (in certain circumstances).
    – Dale M
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 11:29
  • @PMF "They could just cover themselves to solve the issue." Well, the girls couldn't cover themselves - maybe I didn't make that clear in my post. They are models and they have to do a tonne of outfit changes for the photo shoot, and unfortunately they were outdoors so couldn't cover themselves unless someone put up a privacy screen like I've seen them sometimes do for professional models.
    – Arj
    Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 9:55
  • @Arj Ok, that makes sense, but reinforces my statement that the film crew is at fault here. It would have been their job to organize screens.
    – PMF
    Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 10:49

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