“Erin Andrews-Dollar Value on Trauma”
It was hard to watch, hard to imagine, hard to understand. It must have been hard in the Jury room too.
We know how hard it has been on Erin Andrews, the NFL-College Football sideline reporter at Fox Sports, the former ESPN-star, whose life has been bared on video, a naked video, on the internet, by a voyeur in a hotel room in Nashville.
Andrews was awarded 55M-dollars by a 12-member jury for the emotional trauma caused by a stalker, Michael Barrett, who travelled, trying to catch up with her, meet her, and did photograph her, undressed, in what she thought was the privacy of her hotel room, while on a road trip.
She testified, she wept, she created an aura of having been violated, by this stranger, allowed by hotel officials, to find out what room she was staying in, so he could rent the room next door.
What followed was the stunning revelation that he tampered with a peep hole window in a door, and was able to insert a camera photographing Andrews in her room. And he put it on the internet.
He has already served nearly 3-years in prison. She has been in an emotional prison, wondering what people thought, those who recognized her, in hotels, in restaurants, in stadiums, in public places. What happened was not a one time incident. That video has been viewed 17M times on the internet.
She did not need a slick lawyer to pain a picture for the jury, she did herself. They saw the video in the courtroom. They heard of her anguish, saw her tears, felt some compassion, for a young woman violated, not physically, but emotionally.
It raises all types of question. She was damaged, but aside from money, what was to be gained by dredging all this up in public again, putting herself on the stand, pulling all the hurt out in full view of the media and people?. Did she need to do this? Does it really help the healing process? What did she gain, aside from money she hopes to collect?
And what of the people who run You Tube? Is there no way to block that video, take it off the web, so it cannot be seen ever again?
For the hotel chain, a nightmare of a security breach, and now a price to be paid by that hotel, though Marriott International was removed from the case for being ‘not at fault’.
Barrett has no resources. He ruined his life, in emotionally ruining hers. And how about his lawyers, trying to short-sell the damage to Andrews by pointing out her career has taken off, going from ESPN to Fox, questioning how much ‘she really has suffered’ in all this. Slime-ball stuff from a lawyer representing a slime-ball person.
The jurors, who did speak out after the verdict, spoke with emotion, their heart-felt feelings over the hurt the sports reporter suffered. Next will be appeals, and the fact the judgment will possibly be reduced.
But how do you ever put on a price tag on the wrong that was done to Erin Andrews?
It was a sexual rape of the mind of this woman sports reporter, almost as bad as if she have been physically raped. A sad story, with a final chapter that has not been written yet.