Thursday, July 23, 2009

Erin Andrews secretly videotaped nude in hotel

ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was secretly videotaped in the nude while she was alone in a hotel room and the video was posted on the Internet, her lawyer and the network said.

The blurry five-minute video shows a nude blonde woman standing in front of a hotel room mirror. It’s unknown when or where it was shot.

Andrews’ lawyer, Marshall Grossman, says the 31-year-old reporter plans to seek criminal charges and file civil lawsuits against the unknown cameraman and anyone who publishes the material.

"While alone in the privacy of her hotel room, Erin Andrews was surreptitiously videotaped without her knowledge or consent," Grossman said in the statement. "She was the victim of a crime and is taking action to protect herself and help ensure that others are not similarly violated in the future."

A woman answering the phone Tuesday at Grossman’s office said he would have no further comment.

Andrews has covered hockey, college football, college basketball and Major League Baseball for the network since 2004, often as a sideline reporter during games.

A former dance team member at the University of Florida, Andrews was something of an Internet sensation even before the video’s circulation. She has been referred to as "Erin Pageviews" because of the traffic that video clips and photos of her generate, and Playboy magazine named her "sexiest sportscaster" in both 2008 and 2009.

She last appeared on the network as part of its ESPY Awards broadcast on Sunday, and is scheduled to be off until September, when she will be covering college football, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.

"Erin has been grievously wronged here," Krulewitz said. "Our people and resources are in full support of her as she deals with this abhorrent act."

It was not clear when the video first appeared on the Internet. Most of the links to it had been removed by Tuesday.

Ephraim Cohen, a spokesman for the video portal Dailymotion, could not confirm the video had actually appeared on his company’s site, but said it may have been there months ago. He said a search for the name of the user who purportedly uploaded the video showed the person had opened an account in February, but had since closed it.

"As far as we can tell, the user took the account and the video down a while ago," he said.

Illegal videos often are posted to multiple sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion, which remove them as soon as they are found. The videos also often circulate on peer-to-peer or file-sharing sites, much like illegal music downloads.

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