Jesse Williams Addresses Nude Scenes in Broadway's 'Take Me Out' After Video Leak: 'It's Just a Body'

The actor has been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the Broadway play 'Take Me Out.'

Jesse Williams isn’t paying attention to the hype surrounding his stripped-down performance in Broadway’s Take Me Out. On Monday, Twitter went wild when a clip featuring the actor going full frontal during the show leaked, making him one of social media's highest ranked searches.  

During an appearance on Monday’s Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, the 40-year-old actor, who has been nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in the play, discussed the reactions he may receive from friends, family and fans who see him bare it all on the stage.  

"Everyone around me [was] going, ‘Are you sure? Nude, nude?’ and everybody makes such a big deal,” he told Andy Cohen. “It’s a body. Once you see it, you realize, whatever." He added, “It’s a body. I just have to not make it that big of a deal.”  

Cohen asked the star if standing onstage naked is better “when you feel good about your penis,” which prompted Williams to quip, “I would imagine so. I don’t, so I don’t know.”  

Take Me Out

Williams, who was joined by his co-star in the show (and fellow Tony nominee), Jesse Tyler Ferguson, has already had some former colleagues see him in the play. The actor revealed that his on-screen mother, Debbie Allen, has attended, as well as Ellen Pompeo.  

“I wasn’t nervous for them to see me,” he said about his former Grey’s Anatomy co-stars. “I didn’t know Ellen or Debbie were coming.” 

In fact, when it comes to familiar faces coming to see him, Williams actually likes the element of surprise. “I've learned in my first few weeks of production that I don’t want to know," he said. “I was confident like, ‘Yeah, sure tell me.’ And then it’s just, I don’t want to know. Absolutely not.” 

Take Me Out revolves around baseball player Darren Lemming (Williams) being a gay person of color on a professional baseball team. The Broadway revival also stars Patrick J. Adams, who, like Williams, is making his Broadway debut.  

Following the leak of his nude appearance, Second Stage Theater released a statement on Twitter condemning the audience member who posted the leak.

"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 his 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."

In February, ET spoke with Williams and Adams, who joked about making their big debut on the Great White Way.

"Everything debuts, [it’s] not a partial debut,” Williams told ET. “This has gotta be the smartest play that involves nudity.”  

Adams explained, “There’s something about it, it’s so fully integrated into the play. When I first heard about Take Me Out, and I just heard naked guys in a play, you sort of make assumptions that maybe it’s sort of gratuitous or not necessary. But with this play, it’s so fully integrated into the fabric of really what it’s about: people being stripped bare and getting down to the basics.” 



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