Erin Andrews, the sports newscaster had her whole life ahead of her until someone decided to sabotage her. Andrews was staying at a hotel while she worked for ESPN when she was filmed without even knowing. This video was then posted online for all to see.
According to the Associated Press, Michael Barrett, the man behind the video taping said he chose to target her because she was popular and trending on Yahoo. According to various news reports, Barrett had followed Andrews to two other hotels besides the one where he taped her. He would call the front desk, ask what room she was staying and then book the room next to her. While at the Marriott, Barrett rigged a hole and was able to use his cell phone to video tape Andrews naked. Barrett testified that he tried to sell the videos to celebrity gossip website TMZ but posted them online after the site refused, according to the AP.
She is still dealing with the horror and social media only amplifies it. Andrews states to the Washington Post: “This happens every day of my life, either I get a tweet or somebody makes a comment in the paper or somebody sends me a still of the video to my Twitter or someone screams it at me in the stands and I’m right back to this,” Andrews testified, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I feel so embarrassed and I am so ashamed.”
According to the Washington Post, Andrews is now suing Barrett as well as the owner and manager of the hotel where the video was filmed, alleging that the hotel was negligent in allowing Barrett to game the reservation system to repeatedly request rooms next to hers.
The video of Andrews has destroyed her life and it has been viewed over 17 million times. It is something that will never be able to be erased. It has completely ruined her as a person and social media is the main cause of this mess.
Think about it for a second: if she wasn’t trending, would Barrett have even known about her? If the media didn’t amplify her beauty and make her out to be the “sexy” sportscaster, would this have happened?
On top of that, without Social Media, would this video have been as destructive? The second something is posted online now, it is immediately screen shot or saved. There is no taking it down, no change of removing it. Once something is posted, you can count on many people seeing it especially someone who was already in the shining light. Barrett thought he could make money off of her so he stalked her until he got a tape which then landed him in prison.
I think the scariest part of this all is how easy it was to find her and how easy it was for him to ruin her life in a matter of seconds. The power of social media can be positive, but it can also be very negative.