Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
About The Reliable Source  |  On Twitter: Reliable Source  |  E-mail: Amy and Roxanne  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

ESPN's Erin Andrews lobbies for tougher anti-stalking laws

Erin Andrews appeared in Washington, D.C. to advocate for tougher anti-stalking laws. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Most celebvocates, for all their sincerity and star power, come to Washington with just a fleeting connection to their cause. Erin Andrews, who came to the Hill Tuesday to plead for tougher stalking laws, has raw, first-hand experience.

Last year naked pictures of the ESPN sportscaster, 32, were posted on the Internet after she was videotaped through the peephole of her hotel rooms. Michael David Barrett, who rented rooms adjacent to Andrews, pleaded guilty to stalking charges and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. Two weeks ago, she filed a lawsuit against Barrett and the hotels for emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

"The public needs to learn about stalking," Andrews (blonde hair pulled in a ponytail, black dress and high heels) told reporters Tuesday. "I had no idea just how serious this crime was until it affected my life. ..... That video on the Internet will be there for the rest of my life."

Flanked by Rep. Loretta Sanchez and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the ESPN sportscaster called for passage of H.R. 5662, which adds tougher provisions and new technology to anti-stalking laws. The bill has one of those tortured acronyms to underscore the point: The "Simplifying the Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe" aka STALKERS Act of 2010. "The problem here is that the predators are more technologically sophisticated than the laws that can be used to enforce the statutes against them," said Klobuchar.

The lawmakers took great pains to remind everyone that the vast majority of stalking victims were not glamorous TV stars (like Andrews, Playboy's "Sexiest Sportscaster" two years in a row), but average citizens. The sportsbabe said she initially resisted competing on "Dancing With The Stars" for fear of appearing to exploit all the attention, but then decided she could be a role model.

"If I didn't do the show because I was worried about what people thought about me, then what kind of message does that send to other targets of stalking? ..... I could give a face to stalking and they could say, "Wow this is big time. We have to support it."

See also:

-"You Know You Want To Watch That Video, But Erin Andrews Would Rather You Not"

By The Reliable Source  |  July 27, 2010; 1:29 PM ET
Categories:  Celebvocate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Oliver Stone apologizes for anti-Semitic remarks
Next: This just in...: Tommy Boggs recovering from heart surgery


Who's she?

Posted by: sperrico | July 27, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Stalking is indeed a terrible thing, but the man who stalked Erin Andrews was in fact found, tried, convicted, and jailed, so it's difficult to understand why she, and the Congresspersons who pander in her glow, believe existing law isn't sufficient.

It would also be nice if a female sportscaster on a sports network that overtly promotes misogyny would decide to condemn such misogyny.

I must suppose that a role model for stalking (or is it anti-stalking?) who appears on a program of drivel produced by the network that owns ESPN will reluctantly decide to keep her job, her principles and her fame intact for another 5 minutes.

Posted by: gorillam | July 27, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, if Congress is going to get into legislating on stalking, I guess, according to the logic of Obama's Justice Department, that will pre-empt all the state laws against stalking. States will no longer be able to enforce their laws.

An idiotic argument? Of course it is, just as idiotic as the argument against the Arizona law.

Posted by: ooyah32 | July 27, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I would dearly love to see this law passed. There are a lot of very sick people in the world who think that stalkish behavior is fine to engage in. It's not, it's really bad stuff. It ranges from the uncivil to the downright psychotic, and it's just bad stuff. I've been stalked, and it damaged my life a great deal. It would be a very good idea to update this law, & it would also help prevent bullying by young people too. Stalking is one of the key components these days in online bullying, and this would help to curb that a great deal too.

I hope congress passes this law without a lot of the usual partisan flaming.

Posted by: Nymous | July 27, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

At least they didnt' call it Erin's Law ...

In any event, this is a state matter and should be left to the states. Congress has better things to do with their time. Hotels, fearful of being sued or bad publicity, will no doubt take care that peepholes are one way affairs.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | July 27, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

This is a real problem, horrifying for victims, and their families.

Too bad it takes a D list celebrity to get some congress members off their butts. Well she is attractive and the television cameras will be there....

Posted by: googleer | July 27, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

This woman is addicted to attention.

Posted by: Alon1 | July 27, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

This woman is addicted to attention.

Posted by: Alon1 | July 27, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

She has a point. Those images will be on the Internet for the rest of her life. She did not ask for this creep to film her or invade her privacy. While it is fine and dandy to have state laws, the feds have a right to legislate this too if they so choose. There are a lot of crimes that are both federal and state. To all you right winged nutjobs on here - what does it hurt to give the feds some ammo too here? The states are free to prosecute if they want as well. In Ms. Andrews' case, her images were posted on the Internet - by doing so it became an interstate crime which should be enforced by the feds (the Internet is like the phone - an instument of interstate commerce). Anyhow, the law needs to evole to reflect technology. All legal arguments aside, how would you like someone filming you in a hotel without your knowledge in your most private moments?

Posted by: da55 | July 27, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Any law that has such a frivolous name as "'Simplifying the Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe' aka STALKERS Act" is almost certainly as flawed and thoughtless as its title.

What is "stalking" anyway? I guarantee that any law that attempts to criminalize "stalking" is also worded so vaguely as to criminalize a whole host of utterly innocent everyday behavior, leaving large parts of the population vulnerable to maliciously selective prosecution.

Cops don't like you? All of a sudden, you're accused of "stalking" them, and it's hard prison time for you.

Posted by: kcx7 | July 27, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I do not understand why the author of this article described her hair and outfit: "blonde hair pulled in a ponytail, black dress and high heels". Do they do the same for men? "crew cut, black suit with a blue tie"? I doubt it.

Posted by: jp816 | July 27, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Another law that is likely worse than the problem it seeks to prevent.

Posted by: moebius22 | July 27, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Ever read the lyrics to "Every Breath You Take" by the Police? I guess Sting thinks stalking is noble.

Posted by: allknowingguy | July 27, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I second jp826's comments. Why the description of her hair and clothes? I realize the piece is "gossip," but in a piece about stalking, this was unprofessional. And "sportsbabe"?! I could understand Playboy using the term, but for crying out loud, you're the POST! Well, hopefully your not in the Post much longer. You belong in the tabloids with the rest of the stalkers.

Posted by: ptindall23 | July 27, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Unless cases are being thrown out because the law does not cover dangerous situations, or judges are sentencing to the maximum and railing that the penalties are too trivial, there is no need for this law.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | July 28, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

"Stalking is indeed a terrible thing, but the man who stalked Erin Andrews was in fact found, tried, convicted, and jailed, so it's difficult to understand why she, and the Congresspersons who pander in her glow, believe existing law isn't sufficient. "

It's not difficult at all. She and others like her want to live in a world without fear, so given this guy and his actions, she wants him locked-up for the rest of his life. Since she has no chance of changing the law in whatever state this happened so that that happens, and since he did violate federal interstate stalking laws, which maxed-out at 2 years for the first offense, she's taking her case to Congress.

The main thing I think that really sticks out here is when she says that she has "no idea" why this happened to her (which has to be either total denial or a complete lie) and that tons and tons of women wrote to her saying that she has to lend her face to their crusade.

She is really an idiot if she doesn't know that she's being used FOR HER LOOKS AND FAME. If what she says is true, there are 20M women who are stalked every 10 years. What does she want to see happen, all accused stalkers prosecuted under the federal law, and sent to jail for 5-10? 5-20?

I predict that this law will not pass or if it does in watered-down form because the more specific it is the more that it weakens existing law, which pretty-much says that "stalking" is anything a judge or jury thinks is "stalking". A defendant can be convicted for ANYTHING under the stalking law.

Posted by: dubya1938 | July 28, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

""The problem here is that the predators are more technologically sophisticated than the laws that can be used to enforce the statutes against them," said Klobuchar. "

That's complete bullshit. Federal and state stalking laws are as vague as possible for that simple reason. So that they can deal with anything that anyone would consider to be "stalking".

Posted by: dubya1938 | July 28, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

All we really need is an anti pervert bill

Posted by: randykree | July 28, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

"The states are free to prosecute if they want as well. In Ms. Andrews' case, her images were posted on the Internet - by doing so it became an interstate crime which should be enforced by the feds (the Internet is like the phone - an instument of interstate commerce)."

No, it became a federal crime when he crossed state lines to "stalk" her. It became "Internet stalking" when he posted pictures of her on the Internet that were a clear invasion of her privacy and demeaning. Actually he tried to sell them in video form and in the process stills were posted.

What the guy did is well-covered by existing law. The one problem that she really has is that he got only 2.5 years, and will only do a year with good-behavior. Heck given time served before trial he might be out within 6 months or so.

What she really wants is to "lock him up". Period. For much longer than that, and that is what this whole push is about.
But as usual with women, it's 10 parts bullshit for every 1 part truth. the fact is that Erin Andrews is a classic stalker-target because she's good-looking, well-known (indeed famous) and relatively "unsmirched" by the tabloids. If it wasn't this guy it would have been someone else and it definitely will be "someone else" in the future. Her big problem is that she's just a big fat "target".

In a way she should be happy about this because at least now there *are* nude videos of her on the Internet. Now there won't be so much of a market for them. But she's still paparazzi-bait, she's still a public figure, and she really can't complain if some guy is following her around hoping to get pictures of her in a compromising position. She is NOT your "everyday woman" dealing with a stalker. And really she's just being used by all these women who want to see the penalties raised for stalking. And the bottom-line is, what do you want the feds to do: lock a guy up for 20 years for following you around? You want the penalties for stalking to be the same as rape and other forms of sexual-assault? You want a mandatory 5-10?

That's not going to happen.
And if you think about it, you really don't want that to happen. Because if the penalties for stalking are nearly the same as they are for sexual-assault, then you can bet that there will be that many more stalking cases that *do* turn into sexual-assault. She's all worried about this guy. This guy followed her from hotel to hotel, filmed her...and then left her alone. That didn't have to happen, she says that she's worried about him, but he's already shown that he's *just* a stalker.

You've got to leave some distinction, grouping them all together eliminates the distinction, and hysteria is just not a good basis for law.

Posted by: dubya1938 | July 28, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

There are guys on the street now that plead guilty to killing children, who have not just one but two murders on their rap-sheet. There was a girl in Kentucky this weekend, a 19 year old girl, who was kidnapped and murdered by a 30 year old guy who had already done time for stalking her, at the very least. Eventually they get out, and there will always be others. Women are never going to be "safe", kids are never going to be "safe". You can have 5000 laws with penalties ranging from 2 years to 200 years: people are going to violate those laws. We have over 2 million people in jail right now and more who are found guilty every year but who get suspended sentences, probation or no-papered, for violating the law.

Furthermore women are more likely to be assaulted by a "friend" than a complete stranger. Erin Andrews is a special case. She was stalked by a complete stranger. And that happened because she is a famous TV personality. Most women are stalked by people they know. Most women who are raped, are raped by men they actually are involved with. It doesn't seem that high penalties for rape are stopping 6 women from getting raped every minute by men that they know. How can it hope to stop women from getting stalked by men that they know, much less the ones they don't know, much less when they don't even know that it's happening? What made this guy stop actually trying to film Erin Andrews and just sell the videos? I guess that he figured that after the tenth time that he filmed her, he had enough, really.

Posted by: dubya1938 | July 28, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

If Erin Andrews would rather that we not watch this video (and who can blame her or any other victim of stalking), why do your perpetuate the problem by providing it?

Any internet user with half a brain cell will say to themselves, "Hey, I want to see this video. I'll go to YouTube and find it." By providing it, you're playing right into the hands of the criminal who stalked Andrews.

Really, really uncool, WaPo.

Posted by: jmkincaid14 | July 28, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

This guy's in jail. She cannot affect his sentence now by new legislation. When he gets out, he'll be on parole with a stayaway clause, or she can seek a protective order. If he is caught near her, he will be returned to quod with little fuss.

I'm scenting publicity stunt. What makes me think she released the URL of the images to the media after her appearance.

With any luck, nothing will be done because as I said before, no need has been shown for enhanced penalties; no judges are complaining that even if they sentence to the max, people are getting away with stuff.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | July 28, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I support all she has to say. However on the tv last night they showed a clip of Erin dancing on Dancing With The Stars. In that clip she rolled across a bed and showed her panties in a flash moment.
Does Erin think that is appropriate behavior for a role model for little girls?

Posted by: joebstewart | July 28, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company