Actors’ Equity Association, the labor union that represents theater actors and stage managers, spoke out after footage of Jesse Williams performing nude in the Broadway show “Take Me Out” was leaked earlier this week.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the creation and distribution of photographs and videos of our members during a nude scene,” said Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association in a statement. “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.”
The statement continued, “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.”
Since the start of its run on Broadway in March, theatergoers have been required to turn off their phones and place them in secure Yondr pouches for the duration of the performance.
Patrons are also warned that taking photos and videos is strictly prohibited.
In her statement, Shindle called the capture and distribution of the footage “both sexual harassment and an appalling breach of consent. It is a violation that impedes our collective ability to tell stories with boldness and bravery.”
The leaked video posted on social media this week is of a scene in which Williams’ character Darren Lemming is rough-housing with Shane Mungitt (Michael Oberholtzer) in a locker room shower, Out Magazine reported.
“Take Me Out,” which runs on Broadway until June 11, is a revival of the Tony Award-winning 2003 stage play written by Richard Greenberg. The story revolves around Lemming, a biracial baseball player on a fictional team who contends with whether to come out as gay.
The show received four Tony Award nominations on Monday, including Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Williams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Michael Oberholtzer.