Jesse Williams has spoken out regarding the leak of a nude scene from his Broadway revival of Take Me Out, saying that he’s “not down” about it.
“Our job is to go out there every night, no matter what…I’m not really worrying about it. I can’t sweat that,” Williams told The Associated Press on Thursday at their event, Tony Awards: Meet The Nominees.
The actor added that actors “do need to keep advocating” for themselves, and that it’s been “wonderful” to see his community “push back” and be clear about the kinds of behavior it won’t stand for. “Consent is important, I thought,” he said. “So, let’s keep that in mind universally.”
Williams added that while “theater is a sacred space,” not everyone understands that. “Everybody doesn’t necessarily respect or regard that in a way that m aybe they should, or we’d like,” he continued.
In the play by Richard Greenberg, Williams plays Darren Lemming, a pro baseball player who struggles after coming out as gay. His performance recently netted him a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, alongside co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Michael Oberholtzer, with the production also landing a nom for Best Revival.
When video and photos of Williams’ Take Me Out nude scene were leaked online, the show’s venue, Second Stage Theater, responded by calling the move “highly objectionable” and noting that it could lead to “severe legal consequences,” also sharing that it will be bringing in “additional staff” to ensure that a such a breach never happens again. (The theater already had a means in place of locking up phones during shows, which the leaker managed to circumnavigate.)
Also responding to the leak was the the President of the Actors’ Equity Association, Kate Shindle, who called it “both sexual harassment and an appalling breach of consent.”