The Erin Andrews tape: ‘Privacy is the new nudity’
Erin Andrews is a sportscaster for ESPN. She is what many would call a hottie; in 2007, she was Playboy’s top choice for America’s Sexiest Sportscaster.
One of her apparent “fans” hid a camera in her hotel room, and secretly filmed video of her. Fox News is calling the guy a peephole pervert, though it’s unclear how exactly whoever is responsible got the camera in the room. It shows Andrews nude while she is brushing her hair and putting on make-up.
Update (October 3, 2009): The peephole pervert has been identified and arrested.
The person responsible posted the video online, and it went viral (and virus-laden). ESPN has worked hard to have it taken down and it’s mostly unavailable now. Though CBS made the controversial decision to show clips during its broadcast report on the incident, while anchor Julie Chen talked about how the video is “any woman’s worst nightmare.” Erin Andrews plans to pursue civil and criminal charges against whoever is responsible, says her lawyer.
What Jennie Yabroff of Newsweek (and I at The Not-So Private Parts) find intriguing though is what makes the video so interesting. A hot, naked woman brushing her hair in a grainy video? There’s plenty of better free porn on the Internet. Why is the Andrews video so appealing?
It’s the privacy violation, says Yabroff:
[W]hat’s so interesting about the tape? Andrews has a nice body, but so do lots of other naked women you can find on the internet, and in much higher resolution pictures. In the video, she appears to be getting ready to go out: brushing her hair, looking in the mirror. It’s not super-racy stuff. The quality of the video is so poor, it’s hard to tell Andrews’s identity. In fact, the tape has been online for months, and only generated interest when ESPN’s lawyers confirmed Andrews’s identity as the woman in the hotel room.
Obviously, Andrews’s a celebrity has a lot to do with it. The fact that we’ve seen her face before somehow makes her body more interesting. And certainly, the fascination with naked celebrities is nothing new. Playboy understood that when it put Marilyn Monroe on the cover of its inaugural issue. But it’s doubtful Andrews would have caused such a stir had she posed for the magazine. What’s really provocative about the Andrews tape, what makes it good copy for Fox et al., is not that she’s naked, but that she thinks she’s alone.
Privacy, it seems, is the new nudity. This is why, when Jennifer Aniston poses topless for the cover of GQ magazine no one does more than shrug, but when paparazzi catch her sunbathing topless, its tabloid fodder for weeks. Same with Britney Spears. Same with Janet Jackson. It’s not so much a desire to see nudity as it is to see candor, to see what the person looks like when she’s unaware she’s being watched.
This is a topic I’ve touched on in a previous post about the amateur porn site, Ex-Girlfriend Pictures: Revenge porn (Or: Another reason not to take nude photos). That site allegedly allows angry ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends to send in naked photos of their ex-girlfriends and ex-wives, and the site host posts them.
When I wrote about the site, some people questioned whether it was fake. One reader wrote:
-The photo angles are too similar
-The quality of the cameras is too similar; all of the shots appear to have been taken with a point-and-shoot rather than a higher-quality SLR or a cell phone. The lack of variety is suspicious.
-The stories that the guys supposedly submit (to accompany the photos) sound vague and generic.
-There are no black women in the handful of pages that I looked at
-The models — poses aside — are too consistently-attractive to be randomly-submitted exes
-Too many of the women have breast implants for it to be a random sample of exes
-There’s no intimacy or love in the photos; only one or two women that I saw had any ‘trust’ in their eyes
-I’m unaware of any lawsuits to shut down the site or pull any photos through an injunction
-The site has links to what appear to be other pornographic websites, which suggests that it exists to create advertising revenue
-Most of the rooms that I saw have a certain similarity to them, as though they were taken in crappy hotels. That suggests to me that the web-owner rented a room rather than that random couples actually took the photos; couples would be more likely to photograph themselves at home.
I’ve done some digging but haven’t been able to determine whether or not the site is fake. Its host has not responded to my inquiries.
Since nudity is so accessible online now, there has to be something added to make it erotic. Whether ExGFpics.com is fake or not, the appeal is similiar to that of the Erin Andrews tape. The privacy of those captured on film has been violated. Privacy is indeed the new nudity.