Erin Andrews took the stand and gave her testimony on Monday against the hotel where a man filmed her through her room’s peephole. Andrews, who is seeking $75 million in damages from the Marriott in Nashville where she was filmed back in 2008, made an especially damning claim against her former employer, ESPN. She’s now at FOX Sports, but according to Andrews – who left ESPN in 2012 – she was required to appear on television against her will as a stipulation for her return to ESPN after the incident. Via Deadspin:
Q: So did ESPN require that you give an interview?
Yes. 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.
Q: Now, you did have the right to select who that interview would be done by, right?
I did. They were highly recommending it be GMA [Good Morning America], because ESPN and ABC are the same, and they wanted it on GMA. But like my dad had said the other day, I didn’t want it to be a two second thing where it’s like, “Was this a scandal, or, was it not?” No, this is my life, and I feel terrible about myself, and we want to figure out how this happened. So, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to be a part of it, and I just said, you know what, “I know because she’s very public about it, Oprah is a crime victim.” I talked to her producers, I told her I didn’t want to do it. But this was the only way I was going to be put back on air, so we went to the Oprah show.
Andrews eventually did the interview on Oprah Winfrey’s show, saying that she was “hysterical” and that all she wanted was to return to her job, but that Oprah calmed her down before the interview.
Of course, it’s really gross that Andrews was required to do an interview to return to television. According to Andrews, this was done because some people believed that she did this as a publicity stunt – she noted that The New York Post, Fox News, and CBS all made this claim.
Andrews also dove into the moment she learned that the tape made its way onto the Internet. She said she was informed by Jimmy Traina – then of Sports Illustrated – and immediately called her parents.
Andrews’ father, Steve, has already testified, saying that he thought the man who filmed the pair of peephole videos was trying to kill his daughter.