Erin Andrews: ESPN Forced Me To Relive Stalker Trauma Live On Air

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editors
Imagine being filmed at your most private moments and that footage splashed across the Internet. Now imagine your employer forcing you to give interviews about it.

Reporter Erin Andrews broke down in court while speaking about a stalker video released on July 16, 2009.

The female journalist was secretly filmed undressing in her Nashville hotel room through the peephole. She's in the midst of a $75 million civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and the hotel.

In her testimony about the case, Andrews profusely wept as she explained that ESPN, her employer at the time, insisted that she must discuss the incident on national television if she wished to return to her broadcasting duties. Forced to relive the trauma to prove that she was actually a victim, Andrews was then given back her job.

Her stalker Michael David Barrett was arrested three months later after the episode, on Oct. 2, 2009. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

As Andrews’ lawyer asked her multiple questions at the court session, the journalist revealed that most people thought the video to be a publicity stunt.

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“Probably for like three months, everybody thought it was a publicity stunt,” she said. “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.”

But this wasn’t the first time Andrews spoke about the video tape. In August 2009, she sat for an extensive interview with Oprah Winfrey and explained her extremely stressful situation.

"I think it will always make me feel nervous. But I also feel it's my duty to come out and show this person: 'You know what? I worked hard for my career, and I got there the right way, and you're not going to break me down,'" she said. "I also feel it's my responsibility for these women and other victims of video voyeurism to just come out and say: 'Look, I'm going to show my face. I'm going to get back to work. Let's do it. You can too.'"

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It is indeed satisfying that Andrews’s offender, Barrett, was arrested and taught a lesson. However, great credit should be given to the journalist herself for speaking up for thousands of women who face such incidents yet go unheard and silenced.

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