“Take Me Out” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and the Actors’ Equity Association have released statements condemning the illegal filming of actors in nude scenes after footage of Jesse Williams appearing naked in Broadway production leaked online.
“I am appalled at the disrespect shown to the actors of our company, whose vulnerability on stage every night is crucial to ‘Take Me Out,'” Jesse Tyler Ferguson wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. “Anyone who endorses or downplays this behavior has no place in the theater, which has always been a safe place for artists and audiences.”
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Ferguson, who co-stars with Williams in the production of “Take Me Out,” went on to say, “If nudity is what you come for … you’re waiting for a long, boring night. It’s within a challenging piece. in 2 and a half hours with great ideas, beautiful language and remarkable acting from a company of 11 actors, which you also have to sit through. You will be bored. “
The Actors’ Equity Association, the national union representing over 50,000 actors and stage directors involved in live theater, issued a similar condemnation Tuesday afternoon, calling the leak an act of “sexual harassment and a shocking breach of consent.”
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the creation and distribution of photographs and videos by our members during a nude scene,” said Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association. “As actors, we regularly agree to be vulnerable on stage to tell difficult and challenging stories. This does not mean that we agree that these vulnerable moments are shared widely by anyone who wants to sneak a recording device into the cinema. “Whoever did this not only knew that they were filming actors without their consent, but also that they were explicitly violating the theatre’s ban on filming and distribution.”
The Second Stage Theater, which produced the “Take Me Out” revival, also released a statement about the leak.
“It is deeply unfortunate that an audience member chose to respect the production, their fellow audience and, most importantly, the cast in this way,” reads the Second Stage Theaters statement. “Taking nude photos of someone without their consent is highly reprehensible and can have serious legal consequences. Posting it on the Internet is a gross and unacceptable breach of trust between the actor and the audience, which is falsified in the theater community. We are actively pursuing removal requests. and requests that no one participate in the distribution of these images. “
Second Stage Theater has also promised that it plans to station more staff inside the auditorium of the New York Hayes Theater to crack down on illegal recording of production.
A revival of the play by Richard Greenberg, “Take Me Out” has gained recognition since opening on Broadway earlier this spring. The production garnered four Tony nominations yesterday, including Best Resuscitation of a Play and Three Nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, for Ferguson, Williams and Michael Oberholtzer.
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