Jesse Williams is speaking out about his recent nude video leak. The Associated Press spoke to the 40-year-old actor on Thursday, who said he's "not down" about the fact that a video of his nude scene in the Broadway play Take Me Out leaked online.
"I’m not down about it. Our job is to go out there every night, no matter what," Williams, who plays Darren Lemming, a gay baseball player, in the show, told the outlet. "I'm not really worrying about it. I can’t sweat that."
Following the leak, Second Stage Theater released a statement on Twitter condemning the audience member who posted the video.
"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 declared. "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."
"Taking naked pictures of someone without their consent is highly objectionable and can have severe legal consequences. Posting it on the internet is a gross and unacceptable violation of trust between the actor and audience forged in the theater community," the statement continued. "We are actively pursuing takedown requests and ask that no one participate in the distribution of these images. Second Stage is also adding additional staff at the theater to enforce the policy."
Additionally, in response to the leak, ET confirmed that Second Stage Theater installed a new, audience-facing, infrared camera system to monitor any violators of the phone rule during the show.
"This will allow us to focus on an audience member who looks like they're doing something suspicious, and assess whether they're just going through a purse to get a breath mint or pulling out a phone," Peter Dean, director of production for Second Stage, told The New York Times.
"We do need to keep advocating for ourselves. And it’s wonderful to see a community push back and make clear what we do stand for, what we don’t. Consent is important, I thought. So, let’s keep that in mind universally," Williams told The AP. "Theater is a sacred space, and everybody doesn’t understand that. Everybody doesn’t necessarily respect or regard that in a way that maybe they should, or we’d like."
Williams additionally told the outlet that he was initially unaware about the nudity in the show, something he only discovered after reading the script.
"If somebody had just said it’s play with nudity, it would have been framed differently," Williams said. "But the nudity is honest. It makes sense. It’s not salacious. It serves the story. It puts the audience in an interesting position to relate to empathize with the characters."
"Everyone around me [was] going, ‘Are you sure? Nude, nude?’ and everybody makes such a big deal," he said. "It’s a body. Once you see it, you realize, whatever. It’s a body. I just have to not make it that big of a deal."
When ET spoke with Williams in February, before he made his Broadway debut with the show's opening, he took a lighthearted approach to the nude scenes.
"Everything debuts, [it’s] not a partial debut," he quipped. "This has gotta be the smartest play that involves nudity."