By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Former Atlantan and sports broadcaster Erin Andrews tearfully testified this week about the negative impact the hotel peephole videos that leaked in 2009 has had on her life.
She is suing Marriott Nashville and the stalker who secretly videotaped her for $75 million over issues of emotional stress and invasion of privacy.
"I think about it every day," Andrews testified. "One of the worst thoughts I have is when I walk around a stadium ... there's always that thought, as I walk right by the stands, and I think, 'My God, everyone in this stadium has seen that video.'"
She said someone on social media will reference the videos every day. People will send her stills from the video, which have been impossible to fully eradicate from the Web. (She now actually owns the rights to the video itself.)
Andrews, 37, a former ESPN sportscaster who now works for Fox Sports, lived in Dunwoody for several years until about five years ago when she moved to Los Angeles.
In 2008 in Nashville, Michael David Barrett specifically requested a room next to hers so he could stalk her. She said if Marriott had warned her he was nearby, she could have contacted the police.
What made things worse, Andrews said on the stand, was speculation that the video was a publicity stunt. ESPN even pressured her to do an interview about the situation to tamp down such rumors before she could go back on the air to cover college football.
"I feel so terrible for her and her family," said Sandra Golden, a co-host with "Steak" Shapiro and Brian Finnerin on the Front Row on 680/93.7 The Fan, in an interview today. She has met Andrews once. "If I was on that jury, I'd give her every cent. It's terrible that it would be that easy for a stalker to violate someone like that."
Marriott argues that her career didn't suffer as a result of the videos, noting she has garnered endorsements for Reebok, Degree and Mountain Dew.
Since 2009, she said on the stand that work has been her outlet, her safety zone. Besides her football reporting duties, she has also been hosting "Dancing With the Stars" since season 18 and competed on the show itself, coming in third season 10 in 2010.
She said she now takes major precautions whenever she has to stay in a hotel. For instance, she changes rooms after pre-ordering, tells the hotel staff she is with a guy, never picks a room that adjoins another one (not sure how that works) and never lets the hotel staff in while she's there. She covers the peephole and checks for cameras.
Barrett testified that he did what he did for financial gain and regrets it.
Andrews' father Steve said his daughter is not the same person that she was before the peephole videos came out: "She's afraid. She's afraid of crowds, afraid of people. She doesn't trust anymore."
My colleague Nedra Rhone talked to Andrews last month about much lighter subject matter including diets, fitness and the Flying Biscuit.
She is currently dating Jarret Stoll, an NHL player for the Minnesota Wild. Although that is going well, she feels badly that he has to deal with her stress: "I feel sad, because I think he would have loved the girl more who was there before this happened. And I feel guilty about that."