Illegally recorded footage of Jesse Williams nude on Broadway leaks and fans are enraged—'it's a violation of privacy'

Footage of a nude Jesse Williams on a Broadway stage goes viral the day he receives a Tony nomination for Take Me Out

Jesse Williams
(Image credit: Bruce Glikas / Contributor)

Naked footage of Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams that was illegally recorded during a Broadway performance of Take Me Out just leaked and the Internet is aghast.

The video and photos dropped the day that Jesse, who announced his departure from Grey’s Anatomy a year ago, received a Tony nomination for best performance by a featured actor in a play for his role in the Broadway production, which tells the story of a gay professional baseball player who comes out to his teammates and the press.

The leaked video—captured during a full-frontal, nude shower scene by an audience member who seems to be sitting in the first few rows—was illegally taken as, according to the 2nd Stage Theater’s official website, all spectators entering the premise are required to place their devices in a sealed Yondr case "out of respect and support for our actors and in order to create a phone-free space." The pouches can then only be re-opened using an unlocking tab that can solely be accessed in the lobby. 

Although the Internet is abuzz about the invasion of privacy, Jesse himself has taken the episode in stride. "It's a body. Once you see it, you realize it's whatever. It's a body," the 40-year-old actor said on Watch What Happens Live's After Show just a few hours after the photos and video made the rounds on social media. "I just have to make it not that big of a deal." 

Jesse Williams

(Image credit: Bruce Glikas / Contributor)

Now zen about the leaked footage, the Tony nominee did reveal that he was anxious about baring it all on stage when the idea was first mentioned to him. "I was terrified," Jesse said to Page Six last month while discussing his Broadway debut. "But then I noted that that was what I asked God for. I asked to be terrified. I asked to do something that was scary and challenging and made me earn it and made me feel alive and not comfortable."

Fans have taken to social media to discuss the situation and, as some jokingly mention their intention to now catch the play live, others are enraged by the situation. 

"The video of Jesse Williams in TAKE ME OUT is a horrific violation of privacy," one user wrote on Twitter. "Nudity on stage takes trust and vulnerability and the audience member who took that video betrayed that trust. Please do not share it, comment on it or engage with it."

Another commented, "Am I going to be the one to have to say that the person who posted Jesse Williams nude violated his privacy? Yes he was on a stage but he never agreed to be recorded and every Broadway show forbids people from filming. I know it's entertaining but that's a person and it's wrong."

Someone else commented, "Everyone locks up their phones going into the theater so someone had to go out of their way to do this. I know the jokes are funny but I feel like this is a huge privacy violation."

Given the sensitive nature of the issue, we will not be posting the leaked video and photos. 

Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.