The verdict is in, and a jury has awarded Erin Andrews $55 million in the case of her stalker that filmed her nude through a Marriott Hotel peep hole. The jury divided the responsibility nearly half and half between the perverted stalker, Michael Barrett, and Marriott Hotel. Erin Andrews was seeking $75 million, but $55 million is a clear victory. It is unlikely that Andrews will see much, if anything, from Barrett, but she will be able to enforce the judgment against Marriott. The jury deliberated for just under six hours, and it was unanimous.
According to TMZ, after the verdict was read and court was adjourned, Erin Andrews received hugs from the jury. The case involved Andrews suing the Nashville Marriott and Michael Barrett for stalking, and enabling Barrett to stalk and shoot video of Erin Andrews who was in the room next door to Barrett. The Marriott is being held responsible, because at Barrett’s request, they gave him the room adjoining Andrews’ room, thus invading her privacy. Barrett is currently serving two years in prison for the crime.
People Magazine is reporting that the crime against Erin Andrews took place in 2008 while Erin Andrews was staying at the Marriott on business. In order to peep on Andrews and film her, Michael Barrett removed the actual peep holes from the door and pointed his cell phone camera in through it. Barrett, a retired delivery truck driver, pleaded guilty to stalking in 2009, and said that his motive in filming Andrews and invading her privacy was financial.
Erin Andrews has been severely traumatized by the incident, which resulted from the video of her being shared on the internet.
“One of the worst thoughts I have is when I walk around a stadium… there’s always that thought, as I walk right by the stands, and I think, ‘My God, everyone in this stadium has seen that video.'”
A forensic computer expert estimated that the video of Andrews has been seen by 16.8 million people to date, and that statistic, among other things, has caused Erin Andrews to develop PTSD. Andrews can take heart in knowing that the jury believed that the Marriott shirked their responsibility to keep guests safe, particularly female guests traveling alone.
Erin Andrews’ attorney, Bruce Broillet, included a statement about a hotel’s responsibility in his closing statement.
“Right from the beginning they gave out information that they shouldn’t have and multiple hotel witnesses in this case admitted that was a violation.”
The Chicago Tribune believes that Erin Andrews should know that the majority of people believe that what was done to her was a horrible invasion of her privacy. Throughout the trial, Erin Andrews had her parents at her side as her support. She said that victims around the world sharing their stories has meant a great deal to the her.
“I’ve been honored by all the support from victims around the world. Their outreach has helped me be able to stand up and hold accountable those whose job it is to protect everyone’s safety, security and privacy.”
Jury decides Erin Andrews will receive $55 million in peephole video lawsuit. Andrews wipes tears as verdict is read pic.twitter.com/8atAJxxvZ1— Hayley Mason (@WSMVHayleyMason) March 7, 2016
Andrews said that she had hoped that sending her stalker to prison would help her anxiety level decrease, but it hasn’t. Even though Barrett is in prison, people continue to have access to the video of her naked, taken against her will, and she still receives taunts about it on a daily basis. She gives credit to TMZ, who refused to buy the video, even though they were the first news agency approached. Barrett was not actually obsessed with Andrews, but he chose her because at the time, she was “trending on Yahoo.”
Do you think two-and-a-half years is enough time for Barrett to serve in prison for what he did to Erin Andrews?
[Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images]