Actors’ Equity Association, the union representing performers and stage managers in live theater, blasted the audience member who recorded video of a nude Jesse Williams in the Broadway show “Take Me Out,” and posted the footage on Twitter.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the creation and distribution of photographs and videos of our members during a nude scene,” Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association, said in a statement Tuesday.
“As actors, we regularly agree to be vulnerable onstage in order to tell difficult and challenging stories. This does not mean that we agree to have those vulnerable moments widely shared by anyone who feels like sneaking a recording device into the theater,” Shindle added. “Whoever did this knew not only that they were filming actors without their consent, but also that they were explicitly violating the theater’s prohibition on recording and distribution.”
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“Take Me Out” tells the story of a baseball player dealing with having to come out to his team. The play is currently in production at Second Stage Theater in New York City, and stars Williams alongside Patrick J. Adams, Julian Cihi, Brandon J. Dirden, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
The video that went viral on Monday shows Williams in a full-frontal nude scene. The theater has a strict “no phone” policy inside the venue and called the leaked video “deeply unfortunate.”
“Second Stage Theater has worked to ensure the privacy of the ‘Take Me Out’ company by creating a phone-free space with locked phone cases at all performances. We are appalled that this policy has been violated and unauthorized footage of our acting company has been posted,” the statement said. “It is deeply unfortunate that one audience member chose to disrespect the production, their fellow audience members and, most importantly, the cast in this manner.”
The statement included a warning for anyone considering recording cast members without permission.
“Taking naked pictures of anyone without their consent is highly objectionable and can have severe legal consequences,” the theater said. “Posting it on the internet is a gross and unacceptable violation of trust between the actor and audience forged in the theatre community. We are actively pursuing takedown requests and ask that no one participates in the distribution of these images. Second Stage is also adding additional staff at the theater to enforce the policy.”
The footage leaked on the same day that the former Grey’s Anatomy star received a Tony nomination for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play.
Williams discussed performing nude this week with Andy Cohen on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live. “It’s a body, once you see it, you realize it’s whatever, it’s a boy! I just have to make it not that big of a deal,” he said.
“Take Me Out” runs on Broadway until June 11.
Announcing extra innings for Take Me Out! Extended by popular demand for 2 weeks only through June 11. Get tickets now at https://t.co/1uc9Gr923m. pic.twitter.com/rKjflWbZHz
— Second Stage Theater (@2STNYC) April 8, 2022