Here are the fact as I understand them:
- In 2008, Michael David Barrett filmed Andrews in her hotel room through peepholes at the Nashville Marriott.
- In 2009 one of these videos, in which Andrews appeared totally nude, was posted online and went viral.
- Barrett was arrested in October of 2009 and was only sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of probation and in fact has already been released in July of 2012.
- Andrews sued Barrett, Marriott and several other entities alleging negligence and invasion of privacy in connection with the videotaping.
- Evidence shown during the trial established that hotel employees gave Barrett the dates she would be at the hotel and inexplicably gave Barrett a room next to hers.
- On Monday, the jury awarded Erin Andrews 55 million in her civil lawsuit over the secret recording finding that Barrett was 51% responsible and Marriott was 49% responsible.
Since Monday, talk shows have decided to stake out the following positions:
- The verdict was too large, 55 million is simply too much money.
- Erin Andrews’ career benefited from this scandal, therefore she should be grateful.
- Why blame the hotel for the actions of the stalker.
As I read articles and clips regarding this scandal, it seems that the same people that want tort reform, believe that this verdict was excessive. Of course, that is easy to say when it isn’t your naked body all over the internet. The fact of the matter is that Erin Andrews is fortunate that this stalker simply wanted pictures, he just as easily could have wanted to harm Ms. Andrews. In my opinion, Marriott’s actions were deplorable. Here they have a well known attractive young woman checking into their hotel, and a 46 year old man asks Marriott for when she planned to stay at the hotel, asked for her room number, and they put him right next to her room and somehow I am supposed to feel empathy for Marriott now that they are facing a 26 million dollar verdict? I think they are lucky that Marriott personnel didn’t face criminal charges.
Talk show hosts that claim Erin Andrews career benefited from this event should be ashamed of themselves. It reminds me of the insensitive comments made by Bobby Knight in the 80’s when he said, “I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it”. Regardless of what happened with her career, what happened to her was simply wrong. Any attempt to minimize what happened to Erin Andrews is simply another form of misogyny.
I for one hope that Erin Andrews knows that there a lot of people that are happy that she was able to receive a verdict against Marriott and her stalker, but that also realize that regardless of the money, what happened to her can’t be undone.