Erin Andrews Awarded $55 Million In Lawsuit Over Nude Videos
Sports reporter Erin Andrews was awarded $55 million by a jury in a lawsuit against a stalker who recorded nude videos of her, and the hotel where it took place.Andrews alleged the management at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University did not prevent her stalker, Michael David Barrett, from getting the room next to hers. Barrett shot nude videos of Andrews in 2008 through a peephole in her hotel room door, and they later were leaked to the Internet. On Monday afternoon, the Nashville jury found Barrett responsible for 51 percent of the verdict, and two hotel management companies responsible for the rest—almost $27 million, according to the AP.
Marriott International was originally named in the suit, according to NBC News, but the judge ruled they were not responsible for security at a hotel that was run by a franchise.
Andrews tearfully took the stand during the trial, telling the jury, "This happens every day of my life. Either I get a tweet or somebody makes a comment in the paper or somebody sends me a still video to my Twitter or someone screams it at me in the stands and I'm right back to this. I feel so embarrassed and I am so ashamed."
Her lawyers argued that the management of the hotel, West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital Group, should have alerted Andrews that a man had requested the room next to hers. "The Nashville Marriott could've just called me and said, 'We're putting this man that requested to be next to you, is this OK?' And I would’ve called the cops and we would've gotten him. I'm so angry. I'm so mad," testified Andrews, reports the New York Times.
Barrett said in court that he found out which room was Andrews' by getting the number from a house phone, reports Page Six. He said he shot the videos because he was in a "financial bind" and was looking to sell the videos. "It was a mistake in judgement that I regret deeply," he said. Barrett served 30 months in prison and three years of probation for shooting the videos.
After the verdict was reached, Andrews tweeted a message thanking the court and the jury:
Andrews was an ESPN reporter at the time, but now works for Fox Sports and also co-hosts Dancing With The Stars.
Being a woman in sports media is difficult. Female sportswriters and personalities receive misogynistic to downright threatening comments online on a daily basis. Sports Illustrated spoke to several traveling reporters who discussed the precautions they take while on the road, including using a different name, never being alone in public, and putting bandages over peepholes.