Everybody is making such a big deal about Jesse Williams’ full-frontal leak

Jesse Williams is currently on Broadway as the lead in Take Me Out. The show was supposed to begin its run in 2020, but it was postponed due to covid and finally opened in late March. Much has been made of the fact that there is a full-frontal nude (locker room shower) scene in the show. A few things happened around the same time on Monday night: Jesse appeared on Watch What Happens Live and talked about the nude scene, Jesse was nominated for a Tony award for his role in Take Me Out, and Jesse’s “Williams” leaked online in surreptitiously recorded photos and video.

On Monday night, around the same time Jesse Williams was nominated for a Tony for his performance in Broadway’s Take Me Out, leaked nudes of him performing in the show went viral on Twitter.

In the revival of the 2002 play, the former Grey’s Anatomy star plays Darren Lemming, a gay baseball player who comes out at the height of his career. The show includes a shower scene, in which Williams and another actor appear fully nude. According to CNN, Second Stage’s Hayes Theater requires audience members to lock their phones into pouches for the duration of the show “out of respect and support for our actors and in order to create a phone-free space” — meaning that whoever leaked the images presumably violated that policy.

While Williams has not yet commented on the leak, which appears to have occurred without his consent, he spoke on Watch What Happens Live earlier on Monday about the nude scenes. “Everybody makes such a big deal,” he told host Andy Cohen. “It’s a body. Once you see it, you realize it’s whatever.” Williams had previously told “Page Six” that he was at first “terrified” to appear nude in his stage 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.”

[From The Cut]

It sucks that this was leaked without consent. From the description, it sounds like a couple of the guys were nude and I’m sure they feel violated, even if the comments were positive. Second Stage’s Hayes Theater requires the audience to put their phones in locked pouches before the show, but clearly someone didn’t comply or like, brought their work phone. (The theater is working to get the posts removed and hiring more staff for the cell phone policy). That said, appearing nude in live theater is a risk because unfortunately those images often leak. It happened to Daniel Radcliffe, Emilia Clarke, Audra McDonald/Michael Shannon, and probably others. Jesse is pretty modest on WWHL, but some of what he said about the nude scene before the leak can certainly be applied to the aftermath. It’s a body, whatever, yes, but everyone is making SUCH a big deal. The internet’s collective thirst is both inappropriate (unfair comments about his ex-wife being hung up on him and thanking the photographer) and amusing (the memes).

One of my friends asked if it was an intentional leak and the conspiracy theorist in me considered for a moment whether it might have something to do with his ongoing custody/support dispute with his ex. But no, I think this has happened enough times before with other actors to show that it was just a perv with prurient interests. Jesse will be okay: he was nominated for a Tony and everyone is complimenting his D. One thing that only occurred to me today since reading all the fuss about it — how awkward must it be for Grey’s Anatomy costars to sit there in the audience while his dong is swinging around above their heads? He said on WWHL that Ellen Pompeo and Debbie Allen attended, and according to Deux Moi Kevin McKidd did too. He and Ellen used to vacation together with their families and she’s probably the least awkward, but Debbie plays his mom! And I’m just imagining Owen Hunt awkwardly looking away. Because you avert your eyes when confronted with a coworker’s D, right? Omg has Sarah Drew gone yet? Jesse and Sarah used to have pretty steamy sex scenes, so it would be real weird to see it IRL after all that. Also, poor Patrick J. Adams, his costars are always dominating the headlines.

Photos credit: Avalon.red, Instar and via Instagram

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20 Responses to “Everybody is making such a big deal about Jesse Williams’ full-frontal leak”

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  1. Noki says:

    Lol twitter is ridiculous! But a lot more people now know that there is a play called Take Me Out so intentional or not certainly ticket sales will go up.

  2. Lili says:

    i must say we live in different times, i’ve been to plays where there has been full frontal nudity before and it wasnt a big deal. so maybe its about the fella who is playing the part. i must say he has a great looking body and the ladies on twitter are loving it. i hope he wins a tony

    • GR says:

      @lili A lot of the gentlemen are loving it too

    • XOXO says:

      The frontal nude scene in the play isn’t a big deal at all. It’s the leaks that gets people talking, because many more people now know what Jessie’s packing. Ha

  3. Call Me Mabel says:

    Peridot, THANK YOU for your write up of this and hitting exactly the right tone. It doesn’t matter if he agreed to be nude on the stage, or if he “seems fine now” about it. This is a huge violation and it sucks. I hate how we as society seem to have entirely different takes on when this happens to men versus women (i.e., Jennifer Lawrence should sue and is traumatized, but hey have you seen this Chris Evans’ pic?).

    This is awful and although everyone agreed to do it in the first place, I wonder if the nudity was even necessary in the play?

    • Arizona says:

      to be fair, that’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison. Jennifer Lawrence had her stuff hacked and shared completely against her will. Chris accidentally shared it himself. and in this case, while it’s a much much wider audience than he expected, he chose to be nude onstage, so he was expecting strangers to see it.

      • ThatsNotOkay says:

        He expected people to pay to see it. This is theft too. And also an incredible violation. The Internet is forever. He didn’t sign up for that. People will do anything for clout. I hope those who recorded and posted it get arrested and fined. Just, no.

  4. K says:

    That’s quite a header. @Peridot. Lolz.

  5. ChewieNYC says:

    I saw this play a couple weeks ago and it was phenomenal. So well done. Funny, thought provoking, great acting. The shower scenes are about 30% of the scenes and involve nearly all of the actors. After the initial nakedness you pretty much forget about it since the storyline just moves along. My friend who played baseball and was at the show with me said that the scenes were very true to life. So much conversation in the locker rooms and showers so it only made sense that it was part of the show.

    As for the phone security. The guy behind me got in trouble for having his phone during intermission. They made him put it in one of the lock bags. I think when individuals show up a little late they squeak by the phone security.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      It sounds like a phenomenal play. I appreciate the fact that your companion shared his thoughts about how truthful it was to players interactions. It’s wonderful when writers/directors can present the scenario that it so true to life.

      His eyes are breathtaking!! As for the full frontal bit, I don’t understand why it’s such an issue. Women have been seen full frontal for years and no one makes a big deal out of it. Yet men seem to have been carefully eliminated from such scenes in the movies.

  6. girl_ninja says:

    I couldn’t believe when I saw the leaked images and what ensued was chaos. I felt a bit guilty for laughing at the meme’s and twitter jokes but folks were hilarious. I hope that Jesse is enjoying his Tony nomination and the good things coming from this experience.

  7. Kari says:

    I don’t think the leak came from inside the show or Jesse’s camps because to be honest some people are the worst when it comes to how they behave inside a theater. I’ve been to shows where they have actors doing dangerous stunts and people are taking flash photography. The fact that someone probably thought leaking a nude without the actors consent wasn’t a big deal is really disgusting.

  8. NCWoman says:

    “everyone is complimenting his D.” Of everything to compliment a man on, his D (especially its size) should rank dead last. Period. It’s not an accomplishment. If he knows how to use it properly, good for him and whatever partners he may have. But this constant objectification of Ds and how big they are needs to stop.

    • LaraK says:

      It literally has no impact on anyone other than his partners. If someone wants to show their body voluntarily, fine, whatever, but I don’t get why people are so eager to violate someone’s privacy just to see some body parts that they will never get anywhere near in real life. It’s so bizarre.
      And like if he had a smaller D, does that make him a worse actor? Less hot to look at clothed? What’s the point?

  9. MissMarirose says:

    The part about it being awkward to be naked around your coworkers reminds me of a story Kenneth Branagh told on the Graham Norton show about his grandmother coming to see him in a play where he had to get naked. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F3XWJUBSO0

  10. Div says:

    I wish twitter would realize leaked photos from theaters where they take your phones-clearly trying to prevent such a thing-are crazy invasive and inappropriate. Jesse is hot asf, but that’s not okay and crossing a major boundary.

    Anyway, good for him for the Tony nomination.

  11. JFerber says:

    I agree with you, Noki.

  12. AmyB says:

    Jesse seems to just be taking in stride, but let’s face it, if this was a woman in the same situation, I know the reaction would not be the same. Yes, twitter is ablaze about his D, and how hot he is (yes, Dr Jackson Avery, you are), but if this was a woman, it would be about the incredible violation and sexual harassment.

  13. JFerber says:

    Is it wrong that I’d be interested in seeing that video?

  14. AppleCart says:

    Jesse Williams is the new Hamaconda.