The Ugly Truth Behind Why Erin Andrews Went Public with Her Trauma — ESPN Didn't Give Her a Choice

I feel like giving an opinion on how gross this is is pretty unnecessary.
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Publish date:
March 2, 2016
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Oprah, gender bias, Disney, espn, Erin Andrews

In what can only be described as "a tire fire of victim blaming and misogyny," Erin Andrews was forced to go on TV and talk about being filmed while naked by her convicted stalker before being allowed to return to her job of talking about college football on television.

Andrews testified yesterday as part of the $75 million dollar suit she's bringing against the hotel operator who told her stalker, Michael David Barrett, what room she was staying in. This allowed Barrett to gain access to Andrews, video her in the nude and then plaster it all over the internet.

When asked about returning to work, she revealed that ESPN required her to go on television and talk about the traumatic ordeal before she would be allowed to continue doing her job like a normal person who did nothing wrong (which she was and is).

Q: So did ESPN require that you give an interview?

A: 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.

Though ESPN wanted the interview to be done on Good Morning America (ESPN and ABC have the same parent company: Disney) Andrews was allowed to choose the program she would appear on and — just as I would have done if forced into such a terrible circumstance — she chose Oprah.

Q: Now, you did have the right to select who that interview would be done by, right?

A: I did. They were highly recommending it be GMA, 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.

Giving an opinion on how gross this is is pretty unnecessary, but for the sake of clarity, I'll just say that is vomit-worthy, and ESPN failed Erin Andrews as an employer. The insanity of this is of course that Erin Andrews did nothing wrong. I mean obviously she did nothing wrong. All she is guilty of is having a body and not keeping it clothed 100% of the time in the privacy of a hotel room. A gross man filmed her at a vulnerable moment and shared it with the world. That is an attack.

That violation alone is enough to cause depression, anxiety, and feelings of shame, especially when you have people suggesting that you did it as a publicity stunt, which of course people did, because people are terrible:

Q: Were there people out there writing that you had done this as a publicity stunt?

A: Probably for like three months everybody thought it was a publicity stunt. The front page of The New York Post said "ESPN Scandal." Fox News and CBS, everybody put up that I was doing it for publicity and attention and that ripped me apart.

ESPN failed to have the back of their employee. Andrews certainly didn't do this for publicity, and is clearly upset by the attention she's received due to the violation, but I have a hard believing that ESPN's insistence that she discuss the incident on TV wasn't an attempt to capitalize on the abuse of their employee. (I mean, I don't "have a hard time" believing it, I don't believe it at all. They wanted her on GMA for the ratings.) They exploited her during a time when she had already been greatly exploited, and literally withheld her career and livelihood from her to get what they wanted. If that's not a tire fire of victim blaming and misogynistic bullshit, I don't know what is.