The Tony-nominated actor also said he won't be deterred by the leak: "I can't sweat that."
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Take Me Out (play)

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Jesse Williams has broken his silence about the leak of photos and video of his nude scene in the Broadway play Take Me Out, and pledged that he won't be dissuaded from giving the show his all.

"I'm not down about it," the Grey's Anatomy alum told the Associated Press in an interview published Friday. "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 added, "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 stars in Take Me Out as Darren Lemming, a Major League Baseball player who comes out as gay and deals with the resulting backlash. The production opened at Second Stage's Hayes Theater last month and runs through June 11, and it earned Williams a Tony nomination Monday — the same day the leaked images of his full-frontal nude scene went viral online.

Jesse Williams
Jesse Williams
| Credit: Adela Loconte/Shutterstock

Second Stage said it would beef up security in the wake of the leak, and Take Me Out audience members are asked to put their phones in a locked pouch for the duration of the show.

"Theater is a sacred space, and everybody doesn't understand that," Williams told the AP. "Everybody doesn't necessarily respect or regard that in a way that maybe they should, or we'd like."

Williams also revealed that he didn't know the play included nudity until after he read the script. "If somebody had just said, 'It's [a] play with nudity,' it would have been framed differently," he 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."

Williams previously discussed the nude scene on an episode of Watch What Happens Live recorded before the leak. "Everybody makes such a big deal," he said. "It's a body. Once you see it, you realize it's whatever."

A day after the photos and video were leaked online, Second Stage issued a strong statement condemning the incident. "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," the company said. "We are appalled that this policy has been violated and unauthorized footage of our acting company has been posted. 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 continued: "Taking naked pictures of anyone 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. 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."

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