entertainment

Full-frontal naked footage of Jesse Williams in Broadway gay play Take Me Out leaks online

The former Grey's Anatomy star plays a gay baseball player in the revival of Richard Greenberg's Tony Award-winning play.

2022-05-10

Words: Brian Leonard; Images: ABC (left) and Joan Marcus

Footage of Jesse Williams' full-frontal nude scene in the Broadway revival of Take Me Out has been leaked online.

Images and video recording of the former Grey's Anatomy star during a shower scene at New York's Hayes Theater was shared on social media on Monday (9 May), despite the production requiring audience members to keep mobile phones locked away during the show. 

The footage was circulated just hours after Williams, 40, was nominated a Tony Award for his performance in the revival of Richard Greenberg's 2003 play about a gay US baseball star.

Williams, who played Grey's Anatomy's Dr. Jackson Avery Jackson from 2009-2021 and returned for a guest appearance earlier this year, had previously told Page Six that the full-frontal nudity required by the role had "terrified" him at first.

"But then I noted that that was what I asked God for," the actor said. "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."

A statement on The Hayes Theater website outlines the venue's policy of making audience members' mobile phones inaccessible during performances of Take Me Out, which also stars Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

"Out of respect and support for our actors and in order to create a phone-free environment, Second Stage will be working with Yondr for all performances of Take Me Out," a notice reads. 

"Upon arrival at the Hayes, all phones and smart watches are placed in Yondr cases by our staff and will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests maintain possession of their devices at all times."

Williams also opened up about Take Me Out's full-frontal nude scenes during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen alongside co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson this week.

"Everybody makes such a big deal... it's a body," Wiliams said. "Once you see it you realise, whatever, it's just a body. I just have to not make it a big deal."

First staged at London's Donmar Warehouse in 2002 before transferring to Broadway the following year and winning the Ton Away for Best Play, Take Me Out tackles themes of homophobia, racism and classism in the US. 

A synopsis for the current revival reads: "Take Me Out follows Darren Lemming, star center fielder for the Empires, who reveals he is gay and faces a barrage of long-held unspoken prejudices.

"Facing some hostile teammates and fraught friendships, Darren is forced to contend with the challenges of being a gay person of color within the confines of a classic American institution.

"As the Empires struggle to rally toward a championship season, the players and their fans begin to question tradition, their loyalties and the price of victory."