Fox broadcaster and “Dancing With the Stars” co-host Erin Andrews has testified in her $75 million lawsuit against Marriott over the last two days, detailing how she’s dealt with the fallout of a stalker secretly recording videos of her through her Nashville hotel room peephole and posting them online.
Andrews took the stand Monday and Tuesday, crying at especially emotional moments, and gave her account of why the hotel should be held responsible for the actions of convicted stalker Michael David Barrett.
Marriott’s lawyers have argued that Barrett is solely responsible and the global hotel franchise shouldn’t be held accountable.
Then a longtime sideline reporter with ESPN, Andrews was recorded by Barrett in 2009. He released the videos online in October of that year after attempting to sell them to media outlets.
After admitting to finding out where Andrews was staying and renting hotel rooms next to her in order to record her naked three separate times in Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, Barrett later pleaded guilty to interstate stalking and served two and a half years in federal prison.
Much of Andrews’ testimony also alleged some questionable practices by ESPN.
During her testimony on Monday, Andrews explained how her former employer made her sit down for a one-on-one interview before she was allowed back on the air. Andrews also spoke about how many people perceived the incidents as a “scandal” and at first believed she was part of a massive publicity stunt.
“Probably for three months, everybody thought it was a publicity stunt,” she said on the stand. “That ripped me apart.”
As she was cross-examined by her lawyer, Andrews went on to explain how ESPN brass made her do an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“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 us a sit-down interview,’ ” Andrews said. “That was the only way I was going to be allowed back.”
“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,” she said. “No, this is my life and I feel terrible about myself, and we want to figure out how this happened.”
On Tuesday, Andrews said ever since the ordeal she changes rooms immediately after checking into a hotel while traveling for work and sweeps her rooms for cameras.