Jesse Tyler Ferguson has harsh words for the audience member who violated the privacy of his co-star.
The “Modern Family” actor spoke out on Tuesday condemning the leaked nude images of fellow actor Jesse Williams from the Broadway play, “Take Me Out,” in which Ferguson also stars. Williams portrays a gay baseball player in the play, which includes a shower scene with full-frontal nudity.
“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,” the actor tweeted on Tuesday. “Anyone who applauds or trivializes this behavior has no place in the theater which has always been a safe space for artists & audience members.”
“And truly, if nudity is what you are coming for … you are in for a long boring night,” Ferguson added. “It’s within a challenging 2 and a half hour play with big ideas, beautiful language & remarkable acting from a company of 11 actors that you will have to sit thru as well. You’ll be bored. Trust.”
The Actors’ Equity Association, a national labor union representing over 51,000 actors and stage managers, also released a statement denouncing the images of Williams that circulated on Monday ― the same day he received a Tony nomination for his role.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the creation and distribution of photographs and videos of our members during a nude scene,” Kate Shindle, president of the organization, said in a statement released on Tuesday. “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.”
The statement later added that “capturing and distributing these photographs and videos is both sexual harassment and an appalling breach of consent.”
Second Stage Theater, which is producing “Take Me Out,” also said it is “appalled” the play’s phone-free policy was “violated.”
“Taking naked pictures of anyone without their consent is highly objectionable and can have severe legal consequences,” Second Stage said in a statement. “Posting it on the internet is a gross and unacceptable violation of trust between the actor and audience forged in the theatre community.”
The “Grey’s Anatomy” actor previously said he was initially “terrified” of being naked on stage.
“But then I noted that that was what I asked God for. I asked to be terrified,” the actor told Page Six last month. “I asked to do something that was scary and challenging and made me earn it and made me feel alive and not comfortable.”
Williams later told Andy Cohen during an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live” that “everybody makes such a big deal” of the nudity, but “It’s a body … whatever.”