Jesse Williams' Broadway Nude Leak Condemned By Actors' Equity Association And Second Stage As A 'Violation Of Trust' And Sexual Harassment
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Broadway

Jesse Williams' Broadway Nude Leak Condemned By Actors' Equity Association And Second Stage As A 'Violation Of Trust' And Sexual Harassment

The Actors’ Equity Association and the Second Stage Theater have denounced the recent leak of images from the Broadway revival Take Me Out featuring a fully frontal nude Jesse Williams.

The images showcase Williams performing during one of the play’s scenes–a shower scene in which he and other actors are completely naked. The audience member behind the leak posted the images to social media.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the creation and distribution of photographs and videos of our members during a nude scene,” said the association’s president, Kate Shindle, according to People.

"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 goes on to say that Williams and his fellow actors were filmed “without their consent.” She also said the audience member who posted the photos were “explicitly violating the theater’s prohibition on recording and distribution,” adding, “At every performance, there is a mutual understanding between the audience and the performers that we are sharing an experience limited to this time and place; that trust makes it possible for us to be exposed both emotionally and physically.”

In Shindle's view, recording the performance and disseminating it online is "both sexual harassment and an appalling breach of consent," adding that it violates "our collective ability to tell stories with boldness and bravery."

Second Stage Theater, which is producing the play, put out their own statement reiterating their “phone-free policy…with locked phone cases at all performances.” The theater also added that it was “appalled” that their policy was violated.

“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,” said the theater, also reported by People. “Taking naked pictures of anyone without their consent is highly objectionable and can have severe legal consequences.”

The theater also called the act "a gross and unacceptable violation of trust between the actor and audience forged in the theatre community."

The same day of the leak, Williams earned a Tony nomination for his role as gay and biracial baseball player Darren Lemming. Williams had commented on the demand the role has regarding being nude with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. During the interview, he said that he had come to terms with his body.”

"It's a body, once you see it, you realize it's whatever, it's a body," he said at the time. "I just have to make it not that big of a deal."

“I’ve learned in my minutes of theatre, don’t try to read into it because it just creates more insecurity,” he continued. “I’m told it’s quite insane. It’s the first [time], so I’ve got nothing to compare it to and I won’t be scared of anything after this.”

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