Infrared theatre monitoring after Jesse Williams nude video


Take Me Out Jesse Williams
Image: YouTube

A New York theatre this week installed an infrared monitor system following an audience member’s surreptitious filming of a nude scene featuring Jesse Williams. The person who filmed the scene from the Broadway revival of Take Me Out then posted the footage on Twitter.

Richard Greenberg’s Tony Award-winning play Take Me Out focuses on a major league baseball player coming out. The play tackles toxic masculinity but also famously features full-frontal locker room and shower scenes.

Jesse Williams described the nude scenes to Trevor Noah on The Daily Show as essential for authenticity.

“You can’t have a conversation about masculinity and power dynamics in a major sports team without being in the locker room. It’s about exposure, vulnerability. What do I do? Where do my eyes have to go now? What the brief nudity does is bring the audience into our experience. Yes. You have to decide where to look. Are you listening? Can you look and listen? Can you be here? Are you distracted?”

From the beginning of the play’s run, the theatre took precautions to avoid audience members filming the onstage action. The theatre required audience members to deposit their phones in Yondr pouches before entering the theatre. The pouches, specially designed to create phone-free spaces, are unlocked as people exit the theatre.

However, one audience member managed to either unlock their pouch or smuggled in another device.

Members of online picture-sharing forums had eagerly discussed the possibility someone would manage to film the scene in the weeks leading up to the leak. Discussion of the size of Jesse William’s assets led to members challenging each other to obtain visual proof.

Second Stage Theatre statement

The theatre responded furiously to the leak of the video on the same day the play’s four nominations for Tony Awards were announced.

“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 theatre community.”

The theatre also announced the installation of a new infrared monitor system. Theatre staff can now see what audiences do in the dark and respond to suspicious activity.

Jesse Williams laughed off the controversy speaking to Andy Cohen.

“It’s a body, once you see it, you realize it’s whatever, it’s a boy! I just have to make it not that big of a deal.”

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