Erin Andrews video mess

Ahh, the Internet. So much information. So much trash.

By now you’ve heard, if not seen, that a hotel peephole video showing a naked woman in a hotel room purports to be video of ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews. Some sicko apparently decided it was a good idea to capture a few seconds through her hotel door, then splash it onto the Internet for all to see.

Sadly, it became an instant web sensation, prompting her attorneys to take quick action. Their statement last night:

“While alone in the privacy of her hotel room, Erin Andrews was surreptitiously videotaped without her knowledge or consent. 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. Although the perpetrator or perpetrators of this criminal act have not yet been identified, when they are identified she intends to bring both civil and criminal charges against them and against anyone who has published the material. We request respect of Erin’s privacy at this time, while she and her representatives are working with the authorities.”

Andrews is, without question, the biggest sex symbol in sports. But I’ve always thought she was a good sport about it. She doesn’t go over the line in playing to that side of her image. She’s a professional on the sidelines and knows her stuff. At the same time, she has always handled the advances of her overzealous college-aged (and older) fans with good-natured fun.

She has remained fairly accessible, as any number of Internet pictures she has taken with fans shows.

But this incident is a despicable invasion of her privacy, and a prime example of what’s wrong with the Internet, though there’s nothing to be done to change it.

The ‘net is full of great information and tools. But there’s also a lot of garbage. People, unfortunately, are free to embarrass themselves with their cloak of anonymity. The thing about the web that people don’t realize, and that the person who took and posted this video will soon find out, is that you’re not as anonymous as you think you are.

A time is coming when web hosts and publications who allow anonymous commenting are going to be held more accountable for what is published through their services. It has to. Though I’m afraid we’re in for more of this kind of thing for a while, as long as people are so hungry for web hits that they have no conscience about they get them.

One major sports website, Deadspin.com, published the web address to the video, but has since taken it down and its editor has apologized. (And don’t get me wrong, I consider Deadspin a must-read most of the time. It just made a shameful decision here.)

In the meantime, imagine how Andrews’ life has changed. She didn’t deserve this.

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