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Mar. 15 2010 - 7:12 pm | 5,183 views | 0 recommendations | 21 comments

The Erin Andrews peephole pervert gets 30 months, while millions of video-watching perverts go unpunished

ESPN reporter Erin Andrews at the 2007 Georgia...

Erin Andrews

Stalking and secretly video taping Erin Andrews will get you two and a half years in prison, reports TMZ.

Michael David Barrett, 49, made a peephole video of the hottie ESPN sportscaster while she was brushing her hair and primping while naked in her hotel room. According to the Smoking Gun, Andrews was just one of 16 female reporters he targeted. But she was the only one of whom he got naked footage, clips of which went viral — and virus-laden — online.

Prosecutors had asked for a 27-month sentence for Barrett for violating Andrews’ privacy and causing her distress, but the judge decided on 30 months. Andrews wanted $335,000 in restitution for costs incurred during the investigation. The judge was not as generous with restitution as he was with prison time, ordering Barrett to pay just $7,366, according to the L.A. Times.

Barrett had tried to defend himself by saying he wasn’t actually a stalker:

According to government lawyers, Barrett describes himself as a “voyeur” whose actions were less severe than those of a typical stalker. Countering Barrett’s arguments about these “secret acts of voyeurism,” federal prosecutors noted that he “did not simply satisfy his personal sexual needs by taking nude videos,” but put the clips on the Internet, with the 31-year-old Andrews’s name attached.

via Erin Andrews Peeper Wants Probation – March 11, 2010.

Barrett turned millions of others into voyeurs with him; the Andrews video has been watched countless times. However, there’s no punishment for the many people who invaded Andrews’s privacy by watching the video (beyond their computers being infected with viruses). Though Andrews can file civil suits against the websites that hosted the video and charged fees to watch it.

During Barrett’s sentencing hearing, Andrews testified that her “career has been ripped apart.” It definitely sucks for her that thousands (millions?) have seen her naked, but many more people previously unacquainted with her now know who she is thanks to the media frenzy around the criminal investigation. It could, actually, be good for her career in the long run. She has scored a spot on next season’s Dancing with the Stars after all.


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  1. collapse expand

    Kashmir:
    Why do you label anyone who watched the video of the victim a pervert? I didn’t watch it, but she’s very pretty and I think most normal men like viewing pretty nude women. The perp invaded her rights, not the viewers (probably lots opf women viewers, too.)
    I wouldn’t mind viewing you naked, either. Does that make me a pervert (I know that I’m leaving myself open–wide open–to a healthy dose of criticism from you)?

    • collapse expand

      There are plenty of videos of attractive nude women to be found on the Internet. (Not of this blogger though.)

      The Erin Andrews video is different in that it was made without her consent. This is a tad extreme, but to watch it, knowing that she objects, is essentially a visual/virtual sexual assault.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        And what is essentially a libel, one might wonder?

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Kashmir:
        Based on what you’ve written, I think that you have taken or permitted someone to take pics or video of you naked. If the person who took these pics or video makes it available on the Internet (and it doesn’t cost me anything), I will watch it. That’s the price woman and men pay when they permit such sexual frivolity. Women (and men) should remember that your best guy/girl–or your loving husband/wife–of today may be your worst enemy tomorrow. Get rid of that stuff, Kashmir! And thanks for not calling me “Dude” anymore.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Wow Kash. Just wow. I watched the video. At the time, I didn’t even know who the hell she was, but internet idiots like you made a lot of money hyping it, so I bought into the hype. Did you write about the tape? How many links to articles about it did you post on ATL?

    You profited from the tape. I watched it. Then you accuse me of “virtual sexual assault.” Well, that is BS. If you want to take that line of thought, you would equate to a “virtual human sex trafficker.”

  3. collapse expand

    Kash,

    visual virtual assault? You have to be kidding.
    How serious was Andrews about her career anyways? She is on Dancing with the Stars now. I would not call that a step towards professional journalism. She did not deserve to be violated that way by Barrett but he is the only criminal here.

  4. collapse expand

    @craig I’ve never linked to the video, and I have never encouraged people to watch it. Beyond, as you say, writing about it and making people aware of it. But everytime I’ve written about it, I’ve condemned people who watch it. As a woman — and interestingly, no other women have commented so far on this stream — I find it horrifying to think of a video I haven’t made myself leaking onto the internet for millions to watch.

    @john I think Andrews’s sexuality has always been part of her appeal at ESPN. I try to apply the same norms we use in the offline world to the online world. I see this as comparable to a fan rushing Andrews on the field and tearing off her clothes against her will. Each time someone watches that video, they’re committing a virtual version of that act.

  5. collapse expand

    I don’t like virtual virtual crimes as a category. Virtual sexual assault is obviously not analogous to analog sexual assault. I agree that what Bartlett did is a crime and the viewers of what Bartlett did encourage the crime. I would think there’s a pretty big difference between tearing off somebody’s clothes against their will and sneaking a picture, though. Both steal dignity but only one is violent. No?

  6. collapse expand

    I can’t believe no one has pointed out the ick factor (if you will) of that last sentence. Lucky her. She was dehumanized, sexually objectified, her privacy was violated by countless strangers, but, hey, she “scored a spot” on Dancing with the Stars. Way to add insult to injury.

    Disgusting.

  7. collapse expand

    OK, I’ll add a woman’s POV. Thirty months and 7 grand isn’t that much. The guy is a pig and his actions terrifying.

    The endless objectification and degradation of women — nice of you to ignore palavering offering to look at you naked! — continues. Now, yay, we have even more ways to invade women’s privacy and make them worry about who’s watching, who’s leering and salivating and how grateful we should be for this fab new technology that can take one man’s masturbatory fantasies and “share” them with millions.

    I find it so…fascinating…that a good-looking woman, a “hottie” whi has achieved professional success gets rewarded for her genetic good fortune and high profile with being stalked and photographed by a perv. Seems fair, right?

    I think you’ve raised an interesting question here. Have you even checked into (beware) the boys’ club defending porn on Sager’s site? Speaking of eeeew.

    • collapse expand

      Don’t worry, Caitlin:
      I won’t offer to look at you naked! Besides, women, save Kashmir–and a few others, want to be watched and admired (but not the way the perp did it). He was wrong, but thirty-months for a peep and invasion of privacy is enough. She gained celebrity, bot notoriety. Women take there clothes off all the time, far too often, for no reason, save to display their yummy bodies. Do you condemn them, too? Pace, Ms Caitlin, I think you are behind the times. Again, no one has the right to intrude on anyone, man or woman, but if Kashmir wants to strut her stuff, I’m in!

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Ms. Kelly

      In reply to your comment- first of all,I do not get why you brought up porn in your final paragraph. No matter what your personal views of porn are, certaintly this case has nothing to do with porn. Ms. Andrews was not a willing participant, she was the victim of a vile stalker. The two discussions are very much different.

      Secondly, as for the objectification of women who are both sucessful and attractive- yes, it happens, but so what? I dont think that this can be stuffed into some broader notion of the degradation of women as you attempt to do. Was EA degraded in this case, yes. Does it happen to other women of her stature? Yes. But it happens to men in her place as well.

      A quick look through the list of celebrity stalkers will show you this. Hell, after EA, the largest profile stalker case was a man extorting David Letterman with a threat to go public about his sexual history. Ryan seacrest had stalkers, as did many, many more male celebrities. Stalkers are an issue of mental illness, not an issue of some broad notion that society in general devalues the contributions of women.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    Good grief, palavering. You aren’t making much of a case for yourself. Between criminal and creep, there’s a fair stretch of territory. In my experience, a guy’s better off in the gentleman zone.

    • collapse expand

      Lots of opinions here. I wonder what Kashmir has to say about my comments? She seems to lean toward exposes and essays of the creepy and naked truth, in my view. But I don’t have anything ill to say about her or her sisters Radiance and Scheherazade. Lighten up, people, especially Caitlin, who is so unhappy that she’s never reached many of her goals. Welcome to the club, Caitlin!
      BTW, I still stand behind thirty-months and some bucks being a fair sentence for the perp. Murders get as few as three years.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  9. collapse expand

    BTW, Kashmir, I meant no disrespect. In fact, it was an attempt at jocularity. When dealing with serious issues, I try, on occasion, to evince some levity. I enjoy your audacious writing and I am grateful. If I offended you, you may return to calling me Dude, albeit I prefer Ol’ Dude!

  10. collapse expand

    Sorry, but I can’t buy that looking at the video is equivalent to assault. Should all those that saw you jaywalking and did not stop you should be subject to the same fine by that thinking as well Ms. Hill. Or should I be arrested for ogling the Victoria’s Secret (or Sears for that matter) catalog with no intent of purchasing, unless I get consent from the models to look at them?
    And how is looking at the video is anything like tearing off someone’s clothes and attacking them? You have much to learn about men it seems because many men think sexual thought about women just walking by all the time, which would be the same assault by that thinking…….. not me of course, just uh, sayin’ uhh… …. Anyhoo.

    Looking at any of the naked women on the internet is not an ethically safe alternative either. How am I to know if the person was coerced and willing or not? Many women are forced to perform.

    Once the genie is out of the bottle though, it is impossible to put back in and the world should not have to put their head in the sand…….. Another thought, Just because you condemned it when writing about it, does not mean your reporting it hasn’t greatly influenced the number of people who watched. Where was the need to say her name really? It could have been reported without anyone knowing that it was a famous person, but without that, it would not have been a story, so it is unfair to tell others they are causing her harm without admitting your own actions harmed her as well.

    I remember seeing a montage on the Daily Show that had all the reporters who gleefully quoted Imus saying “nappy headed ho” thinking it was news…. and since they did not say it, it was ok to repeat it over and over……

  11. collapse expand

    “Or should I be arrested for ogling the Victoria’s Secret (or Sears for that matter) catalog with no intent of purchasing, unless I get consent from the models to look at them?”

    Not comparable. Those women are MODELS and consented to taking the photographs and are paid to do so.

    “You have much to learn about men it seems because many men think sexual thought about women just walking by all the time, which would be the same assault by that thinking…….. not me of course, just uh, sayin’ uhh… …. Anyhoo.”

    I wouldn’t say having sexual thoughts about women as they walk by is sexual assault, but it is degrading as hell. I’m not a sexual object. STOP believing it’s okay to think of women as such. Generalizations of this kind are false. All men do not think the way you do.

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    I am a writer, reporter, editor and blogger. I'm an editor at Above The Law, where I blog about lawyers, judges, law firms and the legal industry. Here at True/Slant, I write about our changing notions of privacy.

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