Broadway Theater Installing Infrared System To Catch Phone Use After Jesse Williams Nude Footage Leak

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Topline

A Broadway theater told Deadline Wednesday it will install an infrared security system to monitor the audience for phone or camera usage after footage of one of its actors Jesse Williams performing a nude scene was leaked earlier this week.

Key Facts

Second Stage Theater, which put on the play Take Me Out, plans to install a monitoring system facing the audience that will be watched in real time by a security team, a spokesperson for the production told Deadline.

The company had previously said it was adding additional staff at the theater to enforce its no-phones policy and was “pursuing takedown requests” and requested that no one participate in the sharing of the footage.

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Key Background

On Monday, footage taken on a cell phone of Williams, best known for his role on Grey’s Anatomy, and co-star Michael Oberholtzer performing a nude scene was leaked online. It’s not clear how the poster was able to capture the footage, as Take Me Out attendees have to lock their phones in Yondr pouches which prevent them from being used during the show, according to Deadline. Second Stage Theater said it “worked to ensure the privacy of the Take Me Out company by creating a phone-free space with locked phone cases at all performances” and is “appalled that this policy has been violated and unauthorized footage of our acting company has been posted.” The leak was also blasted by the Actors’ Equity Association, which called it “sexual harassment and an appalling breach of consent.” Williams’ and Oberholtzer’s co-star, Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, said “anyone who applauds or trivializes this behavior has no place in the theater.” On Watch What Happens Live on Monday, Williams told host Andy Cohen he did not mind performing nude, saying “It’s a body, once you see it, you realize it’s whatever, it’s a boy!” Take Me Out received four Tony nominations Monday, including Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Ferguson, Oberholtzer and Williams.

Futher Reading

Broadway’s ‘Take Me Out’ Theater To Install Infrared System To Detect Smartphone Scofflaws (Deadline)

Jesse Williams responds to buzz over his Broadway nude scene: ‘It’s a body’ (CNN)

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