The Erin Andrews lawsuit seems to be all people can talk about today! The suit filed by the famed sports reporter and Dancing with the Stars co-host is just going to trial today (February 22), and there’s $75 million on the line. Andrews has been embroiled in a major case against a hotel due to some very bizarre circumstances—a viral video of her undressing that a stalker filmed through her room’s peephole! Having occurred in 2008, it’s only going to trial now and it’s very possible that the results could have a significant effect on celebrity privacy. Here’s everything you need to know about the Erin Andrews video trial so far.
In 2008, Erin Andrews, working for ESPN at the time, was in Nashville, Tennessee for a football game at Vanderbilt University. Andrews stayed at a Marriott hotel next to the university for the trip. While at the hotel, a stalker was able to film her nude (while she was changing her clothes) by rigging the peephole of her hotel room door with a camera. The video recorded would eventually end up going viral on the Internet.
David Barrett, who was 50 years old when the Erin Andrews video was recorded, booked the rooms at the hotel next to hers before setting up his cameras in the peephole. Unfortunately, he later did this a second time, performing the same stunt at the Radisson Airport Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; this tape, however, didn’t reach the public and thus never went viral like the first one did. For his actions, Barrett was arrested in 2009, pleading guilty. He served 30 months in prison and paid $5,000 in fines and $7,366 in restitution. He currently lives in Oregon.
The Erin Andrews lawsuit, which was filed over four years ago, has the celeb suing the Marriott hotel in which the incident occurred for $75 million in damages, claiming negligence on the hotel’s part allowed Barrett to do what he did. Andrews is also citing emotional distress and an invasion of privacy, even going so far as to say that she believes hotel employees gave Barrett the exact dates she was staying there and purposely supplied him with the room next to hers.
Jury selection for the Erin Andrews lawsuit began on February 22, 2016. The trial is expected to last approximately 10 days. The lawsuit begins after having undergone some changes. For instance, Marriott International was originally listed as a defendant, but the judge dismissed this, as the company is not responsible for what happens at each individual hotel.
The Erin Andrews video and subsequent trial enter a different world than the one in 2008, when the video went viral. According to Professor Danielle Citron of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, with the prevalence of the Internet and the number of surveillance devices out there—some of which are very, very small—such an incident would be even easier today. Starting in 2010, Erin Andrews herself has worked with a U.S. Senator to enact tougher anti-stalking laws to ensure that what happened to her doesn’t happen to anyone else, especially other celebrities.