Erin Andrews is ready to dance tonight on ABC's Dancing With the Stars. Whether she is able to concentrate completely on her performance is an open question. She's had just a bit of a problem in her personal life.
She learned last week that some nut has sent threatening emails to a national sports talk radio program that mention shooting her while she is in Los Angeles.
Andrews has now entered that realm of celebrity which routinely has to deal with stalkers and death threats. She might have hoped that her experience of last year was a one time occurrence. Unfortunately for her that doesn't appear to be the case.
It began in 2009 after it was revealed that David Michael Barrett had followed her around the country while she was working as a sideline reporter for ESPN.
Barrett was able to find not only what hotels Andrews used on road trips, but also what rooms she occupied. He paid for rooms adjacent to hers and videotaped her moving about in various states of undress. Video was posted on the Internet turning Andrews into a vulgar joke and ending the life she knew up to that point.
His actions also resulted in Erin Andrews living in fear, absorbing humiliation in public while performing her job and having millions of strangers attribute motives and feelings to her without actually knowing anything about her.
At Barrett's sentencing hearing she told the judge what her life had become as well as what she feared it would be. Some of those fears have been realized. TMZ.com first reported the latest emails and throughout the weekend updated the information that ended with some understanding of how it all came to be.
Directv sent the emails to federal investigators who are now in possession of the unknown person's handiwork. The threats were sent to Dan Patrick's nationally syndicated radio program, simulcast on television by Directv. They were noticed mid-week and passed on immediately.
However, there are other emails that date back to last autumn the contents of which have been described as salacious rather than ominous. Those messages were uncovered after producers of the Patrick show went back into thousands of emails that had gone unopened. After a review the earlier emails from the same individual were uncovered and also passed along to authorities.
According to Andrews' attorney, Marshall Grossman, she is unsettled and fearful but not willing to bow to the fear. ABC has beefed up security around Dancing With the Stars. It might be a blessing she is planted in one spot until she is voted off the dancing show rather than frequently changing locations while performing her routine duties for ESPN
I'm sure it is up for discussion what she does in the near future after the dancing stops. Some critics had questioned her decision to appear on the entertainment show for reasons related to her own safety as well as what it said about her role as a journalist.
But Andrews was never a traditional news reporter nor an investigative journalist. Her talent lies in her ability to gain the trust of the athletes she interviews and her obvious joy at allowing her large audience to share in the action. There will be plenty of roles she can fill on television that don't devalue her audience appeal and interviewing skills.
In the meantime, don't let the spray-on tan, the costume and forced smiles she will wear fool you. She is a young woman whose life will be affected for the foreseeable future by the knowledge that someone or more than someone is out there with evil intentions that are centered on her.
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