A theater hosting Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams’ Broadway show has installed infrared camera systems in order to step up their security after an audience member broke the show’s no-phone policy and leaked nude footage of the actor.
Williams, 40, became the victim of a nude photo leak after somebody recorded a shower scene in his play Take Me Out, in which Williams appears fully naked.
The footage spread like wildfire throughout social media, with many female fans applauding it, but the theater, fellow actors and a Broadway union gave it negative reviews.
Second Stage Theater decried the leak and vowed to take legal action against the person who recorded the pirated video and deploy more staff to enforce the no-phone policy. On Thursday, the theater company announced it had installed infrared cameras as an extra measure in an attempt to deter fearless rule breakers, Deadline reported.
The cameras will face the audience and detect whether they’re using their phones to record video. The system will be monitored in real time by a security team.
Before the leak, Second Stage already required audience members to lock their phones in Yondr pouches, which could only be opened by staff upon exiting the theater. It is unclear how the person who recorded Williams naked managed to do so.
Speaking on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen Monday, Williams said his naked body is ‘not that big of a deal,’ when asked about the taboo of going nude on Broadway.
Williams told Cohen during the After Show portion of the program: ‘It’s a body, once you see it, you realize it’s whatever, it’s a body! I just have to make it not that big of a deal.’
The screen star still has to directly address the leaking.
Jesse Williams, 40, was seen walking to the Hayes Theater on Broadway in Manhattan on Wednesday ahead of a performance of Take Me Out after nude video of him onstage was leaked
The play features a shower scene where most of the cast go naked, which is the scene that was somehow filmed and leaked
Second Stage Theater decried the leak and vowed to take legal action against the person who recorded the pirated video and deploy more staff to enforce the no-phone policy
The 40-year-old star was seen for the first time on Wednesday since the nude video of him surreptitiously filmed during a performance was posted online earlier this week.
How do infrared cameras work?
Cameras installed at Second Stage Theater will capture cellphone and camera’s infrared energy, converted into electronic image that will be monitored in real time by a security team,
The cameras will face the audience and detect whether they’re using their phones to record video.
Williams made his way to the Hayes Theater on Broadway ahead of that evening’s performance of his play Take Me Out in Manhattan.
The actor looked downcast while walking in a yellow raincoat following statements from the theater company staging the show that it would be cracking down on the person who leaked the video.
Jesse was seen walking to the theater on the overcast day in a Tommy Hilfiger coat, which he buttoned up and wore over a black hoodie.
He kept the hood up and paired the coat with low-key charcoal shorts and white trainers, while wearing an Under Armour backpack slung over his shoulders.
The stage and screen star stopped before heading into the theater to call out to a fan waiting outside.
Williams was looked reserved following news that the theater is taking extra steps to prevent audience members from filming the production, which features full-frontal nudity from him and most of the principal cast members.
On Thursday, Second Stage Theater company announced it had installed infrared cameras as an extra measure in an attempt to deter fearless rule breakers
On the move: He wore a yellow Tommy Hilfiger raincoat with a black hoodie, gray shorts and white trainers, plus a backpack. Williams stopped to shout out a fan as he entered the theater
Fighting back: Earlier in the day, Second Stage Theater announced that it was installing a new camera system to help spot people in the audience using their phones, which are supposed to be locked up
Peter Dean, the director of production at Second Stage, said the theater had installed a special PTZ (which stands for ‘pan, tilt, zoom’) camera, according to the New York Times on Wednesday.
The theater already had cameras installed that were trained on the audience member, but this new device would give a clearer view of anyone trying to film or photograph the performance.
‘This will allow us to focus on an audience member who looks like they’re doing something suspicious, and assess whether they’re just going through a purse to get a breath mint or pulling out a phone,’ Dead said.
The audience member who recorded and then posted a video Williams during a shower scene could be facing ‘severe legal consequences,’ according to a strongly-worded statement from Second Stage.
On Tuesday, after a brief recording of Williams in the nude surfaced online, many female fans applauded the footage, but the theater, fellow actors and a Broadway union gave it negative reviews.
‘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,’ Second stage said in a statement posted on Twitter.
‘Taking naked pictures of anyone without their consent is highly objectionable and can have severe legal consequences.’
Coming out: The play follows Williams’ character, a star center fielder for the Empires, who comes out as gay
Social media lit up with snaps of the Grey’s Anatomy star naked on stage playing the character of Darren Lemming, a Major League Baseball player who comes out as gay, and is said to be based on New York Yankees player Derek Jeter.
Second Stage has taken pains to ensure that this sort of pirated video does not happen, requiring audience member to lock their phones in Yondr pouches during the show, which explores issues of homophobia in major league sports.
Co-stars Patrick J. Adams, of Suits fame and Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson were also nude during the scene, as is most of the cast.
The theater places a notices in the shows program instructing that photography is prohibited and said that they added more security staff to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
‘Post it to the internet is a gross and unacceptable violation of trust between the actor and the audience forged in the theater community,’ Second Stage said in their statement. ‘We are actively pursuing take down requests and ask that no one participates in the distribution of these images.’
The Actors’ Equity Association, the union representing Broadway actors, also slammed the breach in audience etiquette.
Noice: @realwild added ‘That Jesse Williams pen1s looks REAL NOICE
‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms the creation and distribution of photographs and videos of our members during a nude scene,’ Kate Shindle, the union president, told the New York Times.
‘As actors, we regularly agree to be vulnerable onstage in order to tell difficult and challenging stories. This does not mean that we agree to have those vulnerable moments widely shared by anyone who feels like sneaking a recording device into the theater.’
Co-star Ferguson also slammed the recording and posting of the video.
‘I’m appalled by the disrespect shown to the actors of our company whose vulnerability on stage every night is crucial to ‘Take Me Out,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘Anyone who applauds or trivializes this behavior has no place in the theater which has always been a safe space for artists & audience members.’
However, on Twitter Williams illicit footage prompted a standing ovation. ‘That Jessie Williams pen!s look REAL NOICE,’ posted Twitter handle @Realwild.
Others scolded on social media, calling the attention over the leaks a double-standard.
‘Watching all these women sexually harassing Jesse Williams was weird,’ Sweetgreen Queen posted.
And Che Voices chided ‘What y’all doing to Jesse Williams is disgusting and if it ahd been a woman, it would be clear to see. If guys were all over social media saying ‘that sh*t look tight, I’d love to hit,’ there would be no question. It’s disgusting and a massive invasion.’