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TAKE ME OUT Theater Installs New Camera to Monitor Audience Members After Illegal Nude Photos Were Taken of Jesse Williams

Despite the theater utilizing Yondr pouches, which lock away patrons' phones during the performance, the photos were still somehow taken and shared on the internet.

Take Me Out

The New York Times has reported that the Hayes Theater, where Take Me Out is currently running, has installed a new infrared camera to more closely monitor audience members after video of a nude scene featuring Jesse Williams was shared online.

Read the full story HERE.

Peter Dean, the director of production for Second Stage, said the theater's security team already had a camera view of the audience that it monitored before, during and after the play's shower sequences. This new PTZ camera (pan, tilt, zoom) will allow it to get a clearer image of individual audience members.

"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," Dean said.

He added, "we're having discussions internally whether we would then stop the show, or send an usher or security when we see someone, to remove them."

Earlier, Second Stage, the company producing the production, released a statement on social media, saying "Taking naked pictures of anyone without their consent is highly objectionable and can have severe legal consequences. Posting it on the internet is a gross and unacceptable violation of trust between the actor and audience forged in the theater community."

Despite the theater utilizing Yondr pouches, which lock away patrons' phones during the performance, the photos were still somehow taken and shared on the internet.

Second Stage is "actively pursuing takedown requests" and is asking that no one shares the images should they come across them.

Kate Shindle, president of Actors' Equity Association, also released a statement that is as follows:

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the creation and distribution of photographs and videos of our members during a nude scene. 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. Whoever did this knew not only that they were filming actors without their consent, but also that they were explicitly violating the theater's prohibition on recording and distribution."

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who also stars in the show, spoke out about the issue as well, stating "I'm appalled by the disrespect shown to the actors of our company whose vulnerability on stage ever night is crucial to Take Me Out. Anyone who applauds or trivializes this behavior has no place in the theater which has always been a safe space for artists & audience members.

Take Me Out is now running on Broadway at the Hayes Theatre through June 11.

Written by Richard Greenberg and directed by Scott Ellis, Take Me Out officially opened to rave reviews on April 4th at Second Stage's Hayes Theater (240 West 44th Street).

TAKE ME OUT features Patrick J. Adams, Julian Cihi, Hiram Delgado, Brandon J. Dirden, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Carl Lundstedt, Ken Marks, Michael Oberholtzer, Eduardo Ramos, Tyler Lansing Weaks, and Jesse Williams.

In the Tony Award®-winning Take Me Out, playwright Richard Greenberg celebrates the personal and professional intricacies of America's favorite pastime. When Darren Lemming (Jesse Williams), the star center fielder for the Empires, comes out of the closet, the reception off the field reveals 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.

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