Erin Andrews took the stand in her peeping tom lawsuit against a Nashville Marriott where a stalker filmed her naked through a hole in the wall.
Michael David Barrett was sentenced to 30 months in prison for making the video, and now her testimony is shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the initial reporting of the case. According to Deadspin, ESPN forced Andrews to give an interview on the incident before she could return back to work reporting on college football.
Initially, the story was sensationalized into an “ESPN scandal” — a publicity stunt for Andrews to use her naked body to grab media attention. That “ripped me apart,” said Andrews in her testimony.
The higher-ups at ESPN were among those with no faith in Andrews’ story. She testified, “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.’ And that was the only way I was going to be allowed back.” She was encouraged to do the taping at the ABC-owned Good Morning America, but chose the more sensitive Oprah Winfrey Show for her interview.
Andrews testified that she had a near breakdown before the interview was set to tape. She said, “I think [Oprah’s] 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.”
Us Weekly reports that Andrews has filed a $75 million lawsuit against the Marriott where the tape was filmed. Seven years later, she says, she can’t move past the incident. “I wanted to be the girl next door who loved sports, and now I’m the girl with a hotel scandal,” says Andrews. Watch her emotional testimony below.