Jesse Williams responds to video leak: ‘I’m not really worrying about it’

Last Monday night, nude photos and video of Jesse Williams from his performance in Take Me Out were leaked online.He also happened to appear on Watch What Happens Live that same night and addressed the general nudity in the performance. The exact timeline of the leak vs. Jesse’s talk show appearance is unknown, but it’s clear from the video that he definitely was not responding to the leak in the comments that were widely reported last week.

After the leak, Jesse was quiet for few days, choosing instead to repost the news of his Tony nomination, which was lost in the fervor over his physique. Others offered support by condemning the leak, including the production company, Actors’ Equity, and his costars. Jesse did comment about the leak to the Associated Press late last week. He took a nonchalant stance, but reminded people about consent.

Jesse Williams vowed not to be discouraged after leaked video and images of his onstage nude scene in the Broadway play “Take Me Out” were posted online.

“I’m not down about it. Our job is to go out there every night, no matter what,” Williams told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The leaked video and images prompted an outcry from the show’s producers and the union that represents actors and stage managers.

“I’m not really worrying about it. I can’t sweat that. We do need to keep advocating for ourselves. And it’s wonderful to see a community push back and make clear what we do stand for, what we don’t,” Williams said. “Consent is important, I thought. So, let’s keep that in mind universally.”

Williams plays queer baseball player Darren Lemming, struggling with the aftermath of coming out, in the revival of Richard Greenberg’s “Take Me Out…”

“Theater is a sacred space, and everybody doesn’t understand that. Everybody doesn’t necessarily respect or regard that in a way that maybe they should, or we’d like,” Williams said.

Williams says he was approached to do the revival of the play while starring on the long-running medical drama, “Grey’s Anatomy,” but it wasn’t until after he read the script that he realized it included nudity.

“If somebody had just said it’s (a) play with nudity, it would have been framed differently. But the nudity is honest. It makes sense. It’s not salacious. It serves the story. It puts the audience in an interesting position to relate to empathize with the characters,” Williams said.

[From USA Today]

I kind of think Jesse handled this perfectly. He took a few days without saying anything, focusing on work and enjoying the news of his Tony nomination. Others spoke out on his behalf and the theater/production company created a plan going forward to get the media taken down and prevent this from happening again. Then, when Jesse did say something, he was pretty nonchalant and let it roll off his back, so to speak, while reminding people of consent, which is important and applies to more than just nude photo leaks from a stage production. He took a moment that was very pointedly about him and brought it back to a bigger conversation about consent and safety. Honestly, A+ crisis response strategy if this does, in fact, qualify as a crisis. Overall, I don’t think this situation that was out of his control will harm his career or his public image. What’s most damaging to his public image are the choices he’s making in his divorce/custody battle with his ex-wife. And it’s pretty surprising that someone who is so image conscious doesn’t see that.

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8 Responses to “Jesse Williams responds to video leak: ‘I’m not really worrying about it’”

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  1. Aurora says:

    I’m surprised there are no legal ramifications for the person who filmed and uploaded the nudity. It was non-consensual. Even though the play was a public event, the theatre specified no filming the person essentially violated the actors.

    • michyk says:

      i could be wrong (i only know about the story from here), but i don’t think they know who did it? i think that kind of thing can still be difficult to track down. and i don’t remember where the video was originally posted-was it on someone’s twitter maybe? where they posted it can also impact how able they are to track down who did it.

  2. Otaku fairy says:

    He said what needed to be said. The good news for him is that Male + Hot guy privilege will protect him from having this used to make toxic statements about his mental health and morals. Pretty privilege wouldn’t get anyone who isn’t a dude out of that. When private photos of JLaw and other young women were stolen, people wanted to assassinate their characters just because such photos existed. It became all about what kind of role model she was, whether or not she had lied to parents, and whether or not she should be DSM5’d.

    • FilmTurtle says:

      Isn’t that interesting? I don’t think ONE commenter has accused Jesse of bad judgment for agreeing to appear nude in a play when he knew this could happen, etc.

      It’s also a sign of our utter prudishness as a society that a mere glimpse of male nudity set the internet afire. Good grief.

  3. JFerber says:

    Otaku Fairy and Film Turtle, exactly right.

  4. Ameerah says:

    I mean…he doesn’t have much to worry about. People have been nothing but complimentary. 😏 He should definitely be more concerned about his child support issues.

  5. JFerber says:

    See, a big d–k will never make those child-support issues go away (first time I’ve heard of it). Pay your damn child support, Jessie.

  6. Robert says:

    Am I the only one who thinks he had something to do with this. There are two other actors who have bigger name recognition than him yet he’s the only one who gets talked about because of this. Plus all the bad press about his child payments has been ignored because of this also. Plus look at the photos and videos. I didn’t really notice people in front of the person taking the photo’s. It looks like the front row. That would be pretty obviouse wouldn’t it.