Monday, July 20, 2009

Erin Andrews Nude Video Stirs Controversy: ABC News Spies Video for Investigative Value!

The Erin Andrews nude video controversy is covered at ABC News, "Nude Video of ESPN Reporter Stirs Controversy: Peeping Tom Video of ESPN's Erin Andrews Goes Viral in More Ways Than One":

Lawyers for sportscaster Erin Andrews have vowed to find and prosecute the peeping tom who surreptitiously videotaped the naked ESPN reporter through a hole in a hotel room wall and posted the video on the Internet.

Searches for the video, posted online to numerous sites including YouTube but seemingly taken down over the weekend, topped Google's list of most searched items this morning. Many of the searchers were looking for cached versions of the removed clip, but were instead exposed to viral malware programs  a common occurrence for widely searched Internet content.

Andrews, 31, a statuesque blonde who joined the network in 2004, has legions of fans around the sports blogosphere, contributing to the rapid and rabid interest in the video.

"While alone in the privacy of her hotel room, Erin Andrews was surreptitiously videotaped without her knowledge or consent. She was the victim of a crime and is taking action to protect herself and help ensure that others are not similarly violated in the future," her lawyer, Marshall B. Grossman said in a statement.

According to Grossman, the filmmaker remains unknown. A spokesman for ESPN would not confirm whether investigators have any leads regarding where the video was shot or who might be responsible.

"Although the perpetrator or perpetrators of this criminal act have not yet been identified, when they are identified she intends to bring both civil and criminal charges against them and against anyone who has published the material. We request respect of Erin's privacy at this time, while she and her representatives are working with the authorities," said Grossman.

The video purportedly shows Andrews changing clothes in an unknown hotel room, unaware that she is being filmed.

It is unclear if the video was shot through a specially-made hole in a wall or door, or through the hotel door's peephole.

A cached clip found by ABC News, but of unconfirmed authenticity, shows grainy images of a naked woman whom the camera seems to be following, indicating the camera may be hand held.

The piece was written by Russell Goldman for ABC.

He's not joking when he says that "Searches for the video ... topped Google's list of most searched items this morning." You can just check my
FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed for the evidence! (Actually, Bing and Yahoo are sending me the bulk of the traffic.)

You can read the full story at
the link.

But you've got to love it! Man, that's a tough
journalistic assignment!
A cached clip found by ABC News, but of unconfirmed authenticity, shows grainy images of a naked woman whom the camera seems to be following, indicating the camera may be hand held.
You think?!!

We need experts! Assemble a crack CSI team! Top hypothesis? A cellphone? Nah, not exciting! Besides,
criminal voyeurism is outrancière!

But wait!

TMZ is also on the case, on the cheap exploitation angle! See, "
Erin Andrews Nude Video Peddled for Profit." OMG!! WHO KNEW?!! That's despicable! What's gotten into people nowadays? And TMZ adds, "It appears the video was shot from some sort of spy cam. It looks as if someone drilled a small hole in her hotel room from an adjoining room" [updated].

More here, but NSFW: "Erin Andrews Peephole Video Update: Who Was The Source?"

See also my earlier reports, "
Voyeur Demand for Erin Andrews Story," and "Blog Traffic and the Erin Andrews Nude Video Controversy."

No word yet at WeSmirch (Don't know if Memeorandum will cover it). I'll have more as the investigation unfolds ...


UPDATE: From Yahoo Sports, "Assault on Erin Andrews' Privacy Scary for All Female Journalists." And from USA Today, "How Private Are We in Hotel Rooms? Female Sportscaster Filmed Naked Through Hotel Door Peephole."

Also, an interesting comment board, "Do You Think Erin Andrews Peephole Video Will Affect Her Career? Positively? Negatively?"

Okay, here's A WOMAN COMMENTATOR who bashes Erin Andrews before defending her:
Personally, I think Erin Andrews, and women like her (for she's certainly not alone in the sideline bimbo parade) set back women in sports media about 100 years. It makes me sad for women like Mary Carillo, Linda Cohn, and Melissa Isaacsson, who I'm sure had a much tougher row to hoe and are far more interesting to me than Erin Andrews.
That meme really goes against the analysis I reported yesterday, that essentially, Andrews wears, for most jocks, TOO MUCH clothing (a good thing), and she is in fact totally professional about her job.

Also, the Erin Andrews story's got, er, legs, "Erin Andrews Peephole Video Has Staying Power on Google Hot Trends." (The search date for this piece is July 20, but the article indicates December 31, 1969; Andrews wasn't born yet, of course.)

Plus, Michael Rand, at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, essentially blames sports-culture mania, and basically, Andrews' fans themselves:
To the vast majority of male sports fans on the Internet, the Andrews explosion is fairly harmless. She is an attractive woman working in sports who happened to come along at a time when that would be a big deal. Bloggers and commenters can make the requisite borderline statements concerning Andrews without creating a more serious obsession in their minds. That said, the collective weight of the Andrews explosion is almost certainly a factor in the awful thing that has happened.
And at Deadspin, one of the most important sources for early reporting on the story, "How $600 Worth of Equipment Put Perv In Erin Andrews' Hotel Room":
Earlier today, I sent a snippet of the video, still being passed around the internet like samizdat, to a helpful guy named Jon from Spy Tec Inc. in New York, a company that specializes in "the finest surveillance and detection equipment on the market today." He says the peeper was probably in an adjoining hotel room (not, as many people seem to think, on the other side of a peephole), having threaded a gooseneck or fiber-optic camera through a hole in the wall about a quarter-inch across. "I doubt the wall was concrete," says Jon, who asked me not to use his last name. "Any kind of sheetrock or plaster, you could use a penknife, if you have the time to do it."
Now, at Seattle Sportsnet, a balanced if somewhat behind-the-curve analysis (you'll see, if you RTWT):
It goes without saying that when you’re a good looking female in a high-profile line of work, people are going to want to see you naked. Call it an indictment on our society if you must, but it’s simply a fact of life. It’s why the paparazzi exist, after all.

Eventually, you had to figure that the gotta-see-you-naked hype would catch up to ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews. It’s just too bad that when it happened, it would end up being a really creepy crime.

Andrews is the bane of every sports fan’s existence. An unattainable goddess of sorts that can turn heads on a low-def, 20-inch Hitachi from across the room. Since the reality of the situation is that most of us will never, EVER hook up with a celebrity in any facet of our mere existence, we make up for our inabilities by scouring the internet for naked pictures or videos of such individuals.

UPDATE II: The Erin Andrews story continues to take off ...

From Diane Pucin, at the Los Angeles Times, "
Is it Possible to Let Erin Andrews Just Do Her ESPN Job?":
It seems wrong to even mention Erin Andrews' name in a context other than the quality of her work.

Andrews is a talented, hardworking ESPN reporter who is meticulous in her preparation, who understands sports and has a personality that makes both coaches and players feel comfortable talking to her. Heck, she even took a line drive off the chin in a baseball clubhouse and came right back to work, bruise and all.

But to some Andrews is a pretty face with an attractive body and is fair game to be cyber-ogled. Last summer a newspaper sports columnist, Mike Nadel, wrote a
suggestive column taking Andrews to task for daring to wear summer clothes in the summer. USC player Rey Maualuga apologized to Andrews after he simulated a lewd dance with her on the field before this year's Rose Bowl while Andrews was unaware of his presence. Andrews kindly accepted the apology and moved on.

Over the weekend Andrews was big on the Internet again. Again, unknown to her, she was apparently videotaped while she was alone in her hotel room. The videotape purportedly showing Andrews undressed was posted and linked to on various websites until
her lawyer said lawsuits would be filed against sites that continued showing the video. One of the websites that linked to the video and is well known for often posting items with sexual slants about female athletes and broadcasters, actually wrote a self-righteous message about the so-far unknown videotaper having crossed a line.

Nope, guys, that line had already been crossed. But now it's just a little scarier.
Very well said, and more at the link.

Also, excellent piece by Matthew Hines at eWeek, "Can Malware Help Erin Andrews?":

ESPN reporter Erin Andrews got screwed. Bigtime. Nude spy video on the Internet screwed.

But in an ironic twist, malware distribution may play an unexpected role in somewhat lessening the sting of the incident. At least a little.

To anyone who has followed her career as I have as a sports addict, and admittedly not always for her reporting talents alone, the breaking of the peephole video claiming to be Ms. Andrews unclothed, a contention that the ESPN sideline specialist has apparently confirmed, is striking for a number of reasons.

Andrews, the daughter of an Emmy-winning television news reporter, is gorgeous.

There's just no way around it. And like some other very attractive female sports reporters before her, including ESPN colleagues Colleen Dominguez and Sam Ryan, it's almost seemed at some points that she's almost had to work harder and conduct herself a lot more seriously than some of her less eye-catching peers, to downplay her looks a bit, just because... well, it's hard to miss on TV that she's beautiful. And that doesn't always lend credibility. Especially on ESPN.

Seems ridiculous right? But as much as being good looking can help get you onto TV, it can become a major issue if you're a woman covering something and your target audience is, even in this day of worldwide sports mania, still mostly made up of guys.

Especially if you're trying to be taken very seriously as a reporter whilst covering a lot of men's athletics, which undoubtedly she has all around.

There's a certain extra mile than any woman covering men's sports still needs to go to be widely accepted as nothing more than a pretty smile even in this era of near-ubiquitous women's appearances in sports reporting. (How many hotel rooms have I seen Linda Cohn in on a business trip? More than Stuart Scott? Maybe!)

And to anyone who has been watching, Andrews has clearly been running it; doggedly in fact, and for a few years now - covering everything from the NHL playoffs to the National Spelling Bee and almost everything in between.
Great piece (read the rest, here). Pretty much undercuts the woman who was bashing Andrews above as "setting back women in sports media 100 years." Being pretty meant she had to work harder! Imagine that ...


smitty1e said...

So, is there a "slippery slope" argument to be made about Rule 5 WRT this?
I'm pondering how to write an ethics code that's 49% silly, yet 51% serious about the need to avoid turning privacy invasion into a business model, which seems like the conclusion of this crappiness.
This is also not to say that ToM hasn't operated in this territory with aplomb, e.g. the Carrie Prejean picture.
One can draw distinctions between CP as a model, and EA as a reporter, or try to argue they're both media personalities of one flavor or another.
Ultimately, there is a Rule of Law, but the urge to operate at the edge, and push it, might be better expended elsewhere.
This has all been a just sayin'.

Mark30339 said...

Loved the ABC News "tough assignment" comment. If ABC was going to cover it, you'd think they'd have a female reporter comment on the video content, as a courtesy to co-worker Erin. Now that everyone knows who she is, any chance she's willing to be on the bottom of the 2012 GOP Ticket?

shoprat said...

I think the world of what you say and do, but in all honesty, I wish you would have never touched this.