HOLLYWOOD—There is no shortage of celebrity court action, from embezzlement to slander to video tapes. Between Lindsay Lohan firing back at Fox News, Mariah Carey allegedly short changing her domestic help, and Sly Stone winning millions after suing his ex-manager-celebrities often turn to the courts to address their squabbles and strife.
Now, Erin Andrews, who is best known as a sideline reporter for ESPN and later Fox Sports won a $55 million judgement on March 7 after the Nashville Marriott and a stalker were found liable for a nude video of the journalist back in 2008 that spread across the Internet. Andrews, according to published reports sued the hotel for negligence after a man was given a hotel room next to hers upon request. The man, Michael David Barrett, then videotaped her through her door’s peephole. Barrett then posted the video online where it continues to spread. That’s the internet, when something is out it is impossible to stop it. He is currently serving two years in prison after pleading guilty to interstate stalking.
The award of $55 million is to be paid by her stalker, a Nashville hotel’s management group and its owner. The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for seven hours before awarding Andrews at the end of the nine-day negligence trial that centered around the Peeping Tom. Andrews who co-hosts TV’s “Dancing With The Stars,” sobbed as she testified that she was publicly humiliated by the nude videos and suffers from depression.
The trial of wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the New York-based website Gawker is still currently going on. Just this afternoon, the Hulk Hogan sex video lawsuit jurors heard Gawker Media founder Nick Denton testify that the website decided to post a Hogan sex video because “it showed Hogan as a person.”
According to published reports, Hogan and his attorneys sent Denton a cease and desist order, but Denton never took it down. Gawker reporter A. J. Daulerio said that when he received the tape in the mail it was “very amusing” and that he thought it was newsworthy. He also added that he did not contact Hogan, the woman Hogan had sex with or the woman’s husband, prior to posting the edited version of the 30-minute video. Hogan said he didn’t know he was being filmed when he had intimate relations with his then-best friend’s wife.
Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker Media for $100 million for posting an edited video showing him having sex. The testimony ended for the day on March 9, where jurors heard from Mike Foley, a University of Florida journalism professor. The professor added, “It’s important to get all sides of a story.” Foley questioned Gawker’s decision not to contact Hogan, or the woman, or the woman’s husband. He concluded that in his opinion, the sex video was an example of “undue intrusiveness.”
Gawker says the publication was a legitimate scoop because Hogan had spoken openly about his sex life before, in forums such as Howard Stern’s radio show. The six-person jury may have to grapple with questions about how celebrity affects expectations of privacy. Invasion of privacy is considered a violation of tort law and thus is litigated inside the civil courts for monetary damages. We will have to wait on the verdict of the Hulk Hogan trial.
Rose’s Scoop: No surprise that Marla Maples is back in the spotlight and will be joining “Dancing With The Stars.” Now, that Donald Trump is a 2016 presidential candidate, I guess we will be seeing more of her.