ESPN has taken rather draconian measures in response to this video, especially towards the NY Post, which is a pretty big time newspaper. “While we understand the Post’s decision to cover this as a news story, their running photos obtained in such a fashion went well beyond the boundaries of common decency in the interest of sensationalism,” ESPN senior vice president of communications Chris LaPlaca said in a statement Wednesday night.
Ms. Andrew’s attorney has flooded the Internet with cease and desist letters to any web page who has even posted a link to where people might be able to get a glimpse of these videos, saying they plan to sue and press criminal charges not only against the responsible party for taking the video, but also against any site which published the video or pictures.
To me there are two interesting legal issues presented in this case. First, obviously, is the fact that someone illegally took video of Ms. Andrews in a pretty gross violation of her privacy. However, the subsequent question that stems from this action is whether there are any legal violations to reprint (even redacted) copies of these photos for news purposes? ESPN loves to point out that this isn’t exactly reprinting the Pentagon Papers, which were obtained illegally. In other words, viewing pictures of Erin Andrews naked is not of great public importance, thus shouldn’t pass the test put forth in the Pentagon Papers case. The problem that ESPN is going to run into is you can’t sue the entire Internet, and these videos/pictures are now everywhere, I mean everywhere. Threatening legal action against every web page on the intertubez is just not going to do much for your image ESPN. Just denounce the video, tell us that you will prosecute the party responsible and move on.
In fact, there is a real part of me that believes this could be part of a large publicity stunt for Ms. Andrew’s career. This video has been available on the Internet for about 4 months and nothing has been said until suddenly last Saturday Andrews’ lawyer releases a statement decrying the video and bam, suddenly Erin Andrews has been the tops of Google Trends for almost a week. She couldn’t have gotten more publicity had she signed a deal with Playboy and announced it. Suddenly everyone knows who Andrews is, when even a week ago I’d never heard of her. So, I’m suspicious to say the least.
Watch more about the NY Post Erin Andrews scandal below: