Fox broadcaster Erin Andrews took the stand yesterday at her civil trial where she’s suing a Nashville hotel as a result of being videotaped by another guest through her hotel room peephole. The most interesting development from yesterday’s testimony stemmed from an accusation Andrews made against her former employer ESPN.
Andrews claimed that ESPN forced her to discuss the issue on national television, against her will, before she was allowed to return to her broadcasting duties. Andrews testified that “everybody” thought she arranged the video as a publicity stunt and it led to ridicule on Fox News, CBS, the New York Post, and other media groups. The slander of her character she said ripped her apart.
Here is the exchange that took place in court yesterday.
Q: So did ESPN require that you give an interview?
A: Yes. Because there wasn’t an arrest, because we didn’t know where this happened, my bosses at ESPN told me, “before you go back on air for college football we need you to give a sit-down interview.” And that was the only way I was going to be allowed back.
Q: Now, you did have the right to select who that interview would be done by, right?
A: I did. They were highly recommending it be GMA [Good Morning America], because ESPN and ABC are the same, and they wanted it on GMA. But like my dad had said the other day, I didn’t want it to be a two second thing where it’s like, “Was this a scandal, or, was it not?” No, this is my life, and I feel terrible about myself, and we want to figure out how this happened. So, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to be a part of it, and I just said, you know what, “I know because she’s very public about it, Oprah is a crime victim.” I talked to her producers, I told her I didn’t want to do it. But this was the only way I was going to be put back on air, so we went to the Oprah show.
Andrews then explained how she broke out in a rash while taping the interview with Oprah and how she was put at ease by the talk show host who told her “I’ll take care of you. You’re safe here”. After doing the interview and addressing the incident publicly Andrews was allowed to return to work.
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