The theater community is rallying behind Jesse Williams after leaked nude footage of the actor in the Broadway show “Take Me Out” circulated on the internet.
The leaked footage, which showed a full frontal, shower scene of Williams, surfaced on Twitter on Monday — the same day the 40-year-old actor received a Tony nomination for best performance by a featured actor in a play.
The play, written by Richard Greenberg, focusses on the coming out story of Darren Lemming (Williams), a gay, bi-racial professional baseball player. The Broadway theater requires audience members to keep their cellphones in locked cases until the end of the show, according to its website.
In a statement on Tuesday, Second Stage Theater called the leak “deeply unfortunate.”
“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 theater said.
Second Stage Theater, which oversees Hayes Theater where “Take Me Out” is being performed, said that it would provide more staffing at the venue to prevent further recordings.
“Taking naked pictures of anyone without their consent is highly objectionable and can have severe legal consequences,” the theater said. “Posting it on the internet is a gross and unacceptable violation of trust between the actor and audience forged in the theatre community. We are actively pursuing takedown requests and ask that no one participates in the distribution of these images.”
The news comes after people on social media began circulating the images and video, pining over Williams.
"Driving to NY to see Jesse Williams on Broadway as we speak," one person tweeted.
Another person tweeted: "goodnight to Jesse Williams, and Jesse Williams only."
"i guess we all going to the jesse williams play!" wrote another.
Williams, who did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment on Tuesday and Wednesday, talked about the nudity scene in the play during Monday’s episode on “Watch What Happens Live After Show.”
“It’s a body, once you see it, you realize it’s whatever, it’s a body” Williams told host Andy Cohen. “I just have to not make it that big a deal.”
Williams has not publicly commented on the leak. However, his fellow cast member actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson addressed the incident in a tweet linking to Second Stage Theater's statement.
“I’m appalled by the disrespect shown to the actors of our company whose vulnerability on stage ever night is crucial to ‘Take Me Out,’” Ferguson wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
“Anyone who applauds or trivializes this behavior has no place in the theater which has always been a safe space for artists & audience members.”