Erin Andrews, a Fox Sports broadcaster, has opened up about the traumatic experience of having her privacy violated and being publicly shamed. In an upcoming episode of Hoda Kotb’s podcast “Making Space,” Andrews discusses how she felt after a nude video of herself was released to the public. The “Today” show released a few quotes from the interview, where Andrews describes the unfair response she received from the public.
Back in 2008, Andrews was stalked by an individual who filmed her undressing in her room at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University without her knowledge. The stalker had requested to be placed in the room next to hers and rigged a peephole to secretly record her. The footage was later released online in 2009. At the time, many people believed that Andrews had staged the video for attention and endorsements.
Andrews first learned about the video from a friend who worked at Sports Illustrated. Initially, she couldn’t believe it because she had no recollection of taking or posing for such intimate footage. She called her parents for support, and her father thought she had been in a car accident due to her screaming. Andrews recalls resorting to acting like a teenager and relying on her parents for help.
The leaked video was just the beginning of Andrews’ nightmare. According to a computer expert who testified in a 2016 lawsuit Andrews filed against her stalker and the companies managing the hotel, the non-consensual images of Andrews were viewed nearly 17 million times online. Censored images of the footage were also displayed on the front pages of newspapers, with headlines suggesting an “ESPN Scandal.” Andrews was torn apart by the accusations that she had done it for publicity.
To make matters worse, Andrews’ employer at the time, ESPN, told her that she would have to publicly speak about her trauma in a sit-down interview if she wanted to return to work. Eager to regain a sense of normality, Andrews reluctantly agreed to an interview with Oprah Winfrey. However, she broke down before the trial, expressing her desire to go back to college football and not have to talk about what happened to her.
In 2009, the man responsible for filming Andrews pleaded guilty to stalking and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Andrews also won a $55 million lawsuit. Her full interview with Hoda Kotb will be available on Wednesday.
Source: The Huffington Post