ESPN hits back over nude video

ESPN hits back over nude video
US broadcaster bans journalists of newspaper which ran controversial photos of its reporter
July 25, 2009 Print Ready Email Article

SPORTS broadcaster ESPN took stern action after a New York newspaper published illegally taken nude photos of one of its reporters.

Click to see larger image
POPULAR: Ms Andrews arriving at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles. PICTURE: AP

It banned staffers from the New York Post from appearing on any of its programming on yesterday. Newspaper reporters are regular guests on ESPN shows.

The newspaper published photos this week taken from a video showing reporter Erin Andrews nude in a hotel room.

The Post published three images from the blurry video on Tuesday.

ESPN senior vice president of communications Chris LaPlaca said in a statement Wednesday night: ‘Erin was grievously wronged here.

‘While we understand the Post’s decision to cover this as a news story, their running photos obtained in such a fashion went well beyond the boundaries of common decency in the interest of sensationalism.’

He said that they did not make the decision lightly and felt it was appropriate

Post spokesman Howard Rubenstein did not immediately return a call from AP.

The Post was one of several TV networks and newspapers that aired or published images from the video, which Ms Andrews’ attorney says was shot without her knowledge.

Ms Andrews plans to seek criminal charges and file civil lawsuits against the person who shot the video and anyone who publishes the material, attorney Marshall Grossman said.

Ms Kelly McBride, a journalism ethics expert with the Florida-based Poynter Institute, said it was unethical for news organisations to show images from the Andrews video.

‘(If) there is some illegally obtained material, leaked documents or video of a CIA person torturing a soldier … that I think has great public importance,’ Ms McBride said.

‘But this doesn’t do that at all.

‘I actually do believe in giving the audience what they want to certain restraints, and I think this clearly crosses that line,’ she said.

‘I don’t think with a straight face you could justify this on journalistic grounds.’

The blurry, five-minute video shows Ms Andrews standing in front of a hotel room mirror, fixing her hair in the nude. It’s unknown when or where it was shot.

Ms Andrews, 31, has covered hockey, college American football, college basketball and Major League Baseball for the network since 2004.

A former dance team member at the University of Florida, she 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.

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

Every US state but Iowa now has some law on the books dealing with video voyeurism, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

‘With people disseminating these images over the Internet, there is a potential for people to abuse the victim again and again,’ said Ms Ilse Knecht, the centre’s deputy director for public policy.



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