Erin Andrews Has To Buy The Copyright To Her Own Peephole Video To Get It Off The Internet
Go to Erin Andrews' Twitter page, and you'll see that she has a very extensive following. Which means that on any given day, she receives scores of incoming tweets — not just from sports fans, but from perverted individuals who see the need to let her know that they've seen her naked. As if she needed reminding.
Andrews has been harassed on the sidelines by kids as young as 12, and if you Google her name, one of the first hits is bound to be a link to the peephole video that went viral in 2009, after a stalker filmed her nude in a hotel room.
In a recent interview with Marie Claire, Andrews opens up about the incident — both the immediate aftermath, and the lingering paranoia — as well as finally confronting the man who did this to her, and her mission to purge the Internet of the video ... by first buying the copyright.
According to Andrews:
I've had lawyers send out cease-and-desist letters to websites to take down the video, which they never do. The copyright helps us say, "We have this — get the video off, or we will sue."
She goes on to explain that she was so mentally and psychologically unhinged after seeing the video for herself, that she "didn't want to get undressed" — staying in the same clothes for two or three days.
Perhaps most difficult of all was having to convince people she wasn't behind this alleged "sex tape" — that it wasn't some sort of twisted publicity stunt.
During the investigation, the FBI couldn't say a word about the case. So the media kept saying, "She had to have been behind it because no one's saying that there's an FBI investigation." Even when I first met with the FBI, they looked me in the eye and said, "We cannot spend time on this unless you tell us that you did not do this to yourself." Then I had to sit there and watch the video with them.
In a somewhat-ironic twist, the FBI was able to catch the stalker thanks largely to Harvey Levin of TMZ fame, who sent them the guy's e-mail address after he attempted to sell the footage to the celebrity gossip site.
Michael David Barrett, an insurance executive from Illinois, pleaded guilty to interstate stalking and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in March 2009, during which Andrews was given the opportunity to speak to him.
As she tells of the encounter:
I yelled, "You're going to go to jail for how many years, but I'll never get this off the Internet — I'll have to explain it to my future husband and my kids!"
Last summer Andrews went to Washington, D.C. to lobby for tougher anti-stalking laws, but the bill in question didn't pass Congress. It has since been reintroduced, and she intends to continue lobbying for it.
The laws are so outdated, and technology has just gotten better and crazier and faster. The laws need to be strengthened — they're a joke. Hopefully, we can get something done. I've brought attention to the crime. Now let's fix it.
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