The first time I ever heard of Erin Andrews, she was the target of a "Peeping Tom" who had stalked and followed the ESPN reporter to the various hotels she traveled to for work. He then secretly spied on her when she was naked and recorded her through a modified peep-hole in her hotel room door and leaked the footage over the internet. I do not follow sports so I was unfamiliar with her career as a sideline reporter but she is quite popular, having been named "America's Sexiest Sportscaster" by Playboy magazine in 2008 and 2009. I gained a great deal of respect for Andrews when she went to Federal Court in March to face her stalker her at his sentencing hearing following a plea bargain. He will serve two and a half years in prison.
I applauded Andrews for moving forward with both her life and her career when she accepted the invitation to compete on Dancing With the Stars. In April, it was revealed that Andrews was the target of approximately a dozen recent death threats sent in emails through a sports talk show which are now under investigation by the FBI. Last week, Erin was attacked again but this time, it was a verbal assault from The View's Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who criticized Andrew's wardrobe choices on the show.
"For the past three weeks she's been wearing like next to nothing," Hasselbeck said of Andrews. "As inexcusable as it was for that guy (the stalker) to go in and try to peep on her in her hotel room, in some way, if I'm him, I'm like, "Man I just could have waited twelve weeks and seen this, a little bit less, without the prison time."
The following day, Hasselbeck offered this tearful apology on her show, which she said was prompted by a discussion the night before with her daughter: "Grace, mommy feels really bad 'cause I hurt somebody ... I am really sorry and I wanted to offer that publicly."
But what are we to make of Hasselbeck's "apology?" She did not retract her statement. She did not admit that what she said was wrong. She simply cried and said she was sorry for hurting Erin Andrews' feelings. I thought to myself, "That's not really an apology at all."
Let's look at this logically. Dancing With the Stars is a family show on ABC. The outfits Andrews wears each week (reportedly designed with input from her dance partner) are no more risqué than those worn by any of the other female celebrities over each of the past nine seasons. In fact, they are tamer than most all of the professional dancers' costumes. In addition, they are completely appropriate in the context of ballroom dancing. Andrews is not wearing those outfits on the football field, she is wearing them on the dance floor. Give me a break.
More importantly, let's not forget that Andrews was the victim of a despicable crime. Is she now supposed to be held to a different standard because she was stalked and videotaped? Is she somehow expected to dress more conservatively simply because she was targeted by a sexual predator? That is ridiculous and, frankly, offensive. Andrews was a victim. But she is not living like one. I have never heard her say, "Oh poor me." Instead, I have seen her act with class and dignity and I think she deserves a lot of credit. To all the Hasselbeck's out there I say, with respect, "Leave Erin Andrews alone."
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