Erin Andrews, the sportscaster who rose to fame covering primarily college sports on ESPN, and who has since moved to FOX and become a household name as one of the leading women in her industry, has to live every day knowing the majority of the population has seen her naked.
I say majority because well, it goes without saying that in the seven-plus years since the Erin Andrews peephole video found its way to the Internet, nearly all men have come across it at some point. And I’m sure there were a fair share of women who were just curious.
Before I get on my high horse, I feel obligated to come clean and say I watched it too. And before you judge me, understand that I was 22 years old at the time. It would have taken an unconscionable amount of restraint to have avoided it. In fact, it would have taken genuine effort to avoid it when you consider the rate at which it was circulating the Internet.
But that’s the whole point. It got around. And it’s easy to talk about it in a casual, passive way, like it’s any other viral video, but we forget that we’re talking about a severe breach of one’s privacy here.
This was not an instance in which questionable behavior led to unforeseen consequences. This was a woman being victimized by a stalker and put on display against her will.
And after a highly publicized trial at which Andrews tearfully explained the emotional toll that the video has had on her life, a judge on Monday awarded her $55 million.
It’s hard to quantify exactly how much money one should receive for something like this (she had sued the stalker, Michael David Barrett, and the companies that manage the Nashville Marriott in which the incident occurred for $75 million). But it appeared that the instant public reaction to the ruling, at least on social media, was one of astonishment.
Firstly, she won’t see anywhere close to that total. The stalker (responsible for 51 percent of the money) is broke, and the hotel companies will likely appeal, which may end up resulting in a settlement.
But that is besides the point. None of us experienced what Erin Andrews did. Our lives have gone on normally, likely without scandal, and certainly without videos of our naked bodies accessible on every pornographic website across the globe (… I presume).
At the very least, one can hope that the ruling earlier this week would give Erin Andrews some vindication on what has almost certainly been the darkest chapter of her life.
It’s one thing to be jealous that she was awarded a boatload of money, but let’s not act like she doesn’t deserve it after what she went through.
Although, Erin, if you are looking for a worthy cause to donate some of that money to, my website domain for this blog expires in about a month. It costs like $18. Any contribution will do.
But if not, we’re still cool.