ESPN Forced Erin Andrews To Give A Sit Down Interview About Her Stalker On Television
When Fox broadcaster Erin Andrews took a short stay at a Nashville hotel during the summer of 2009, she had no idea that not only would she be videotaped undressing in her hotel room, but that it would interfere with her career for years to come.
On July 16th, 2009 the video of her undressing was uploaded to a NSFW site by Michael David Barret. In October of 2009 he faced charges for creating the video, and pled guilty for interstate stalking, serving nearly 30 months in prison.
Yesterday, Erin Andrews took the stand in her civil suit against the Nashville hotel and revealed in her testimony that her former employer ESPN forced her to interview on live television about the incident before she was allowed to return to work.
“Probably for like three months, everybody thought it was a publicity stunt,” said Andrews, “The front page of the New York Post said ‘ESPN Scandal.’ To Fox News and CBS, everybody put up that I was doing it for publicity and attention, and that ripped me apart.”
Understandably, Andrews wanted to return to her work as a broadcaster and put the hotel incident behind her, but ESPN required she publicly talk about it before allowing her to return to college football, under the claims that the public needed clarification.
“Because there wasn’t an arrest, because we didn’t know where this happened, my bosses at ESPN told me, ‘Before you go back on air for college football we need you to give a sit-down interview,'” Andrews, fighting off tears. “And that was the only way I was going to be allowed back.”
In the only gesture that actually respected her autonomy, ESPN let her pick which television show she’d interview on. Despite her bosses’ strong leaning towards Good Morning America, Andrews went with Oprah, saying that even though she didn’t want to do this, Oprah felt safer.
Andrews said that luckily Oprah understood where she was coming from, citing a specific moment in which she comforted her.
“I think her producer had heard me crying, and all of a sudden in walked Oprah, in her slippers, and her butterfly eyelashes. I didn’t have time to get up out of the chair, and she walked over to me, and I was hysterical. And she said, “I’ve got you, you’re safe here. I’ll take care of you.” And I did the interview.”