Erin Andrews is fortunate that the jury of her peers in her lawsuit over that secretly recorded nude video wasn’t chosen from social media.
After seven days of emotional testimony, a Nashville jury awarded Andrews $55 million from the peeping Tom who filmed her and the management company of the Nashville Marriott, where the incident happened.
She had asked for $75 million.
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The size of the award whipped up feverish, even angry, mixed reaction on social media.
People compared the award to other multimillion dollar decisions, trying to argue that there’s a difference between death and the pain of being embarrassed.
For instance, last month a jury in St. Louis awarded a $72 million amount to the family of Jackie Fox, an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer in October 2015. Her family claimed that the cancer was caused by her regular use of Johnson & Johnson baby powder and other products containing talcum. Johnson was found guilty on several counts.
And Walmart agreed to pay $10 million to the children of comedian James McNair, who was killed in June 2014 in a crash on the New Jersey turnpike that also seriously injured “30 Rock” star Tracy Morgan.
In a scathing take-down, New York Daily News columnist Gersh Kuntzman charged that the decision made a mockery of pain and suffering.
“No disrespect to the jury in the Erin Andrews case, but I can’t breathe,” Kuntzman wrote. “Fifty-five million dollars because people got to see Erin Andrews naked on the Internet.
“But Erin Andrews is still alive and, as the defendants in the case argued, is certainly thriving. She’s free to go on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ or schmooze with NFL players. But a jury felt her pain — and treated the symptoms with cash. America, what a country.”
He compared Andrews with Eric Garner, a black man choked to death in 2014 by a New York City police officer. “The medical examiner ruled it a homicide,” Kuntzman wrote. “His family got $5.9 million.
“The family of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, killed in that ‘rough ride’ in a Baltimore police van in 2015, got $6.4 million.”
Six million dollars could end up being closer to the amount Andrews will get should Marriott appeal the decision, legal experts speculate. An appeals court could rule that the award is excessive. Lawyer fees and taxes have to be paid.
She deserves every penny of what she gets, her supporters said. The video shot by stalker Michael David Barrett, who has served two and a half years in prison for what he did, has been seen more than 300 million times by some estimates.
“It’s a victory for all women. Men do not understand,” author and TV commentator Jane Velez-Mitchell said on HLN after the verdict was announced.
“They’d probably be proud if they had you-know-what ... videotaped naked and to have it go all over the world. But Erin Andrews lives in a testosterone-filled world of professional sports.
“Every man she interviews, she’s got to look him in the eye and think, ‘Has he seen me naked?’ And if he smiles back at her, ooh, ‘Is he smiling at me, leering at me, because he saw my breasts, saw my buttocks?’
“This is a violation. And women really understand why this woman deserves $55 million.”
One juror told ABC News that the jury was sending a message to the hotel industry with the award.
The hosts of “The View” on Tuesday applauded the Andrews award and expressed support for pro wrestler Hulk Hogan in his privacy lawsuit.
Hogan is suing Gawker Media for $100 million for posting clips from a secretly recorded sex tape of him.
The 2012 video shows Hogan having sex with Heather Clem, former wife of his then-friend Todd Clem, also known as Bubba the Love Sponge, a radio shock jock. Todd Clem made the tape.
“I think Gawker should pay him a lot of money,” said “View” co-host Raven-Symone. “It’s something to say about again the way our society is run right now. It’s not fair that you can’t walk into a room and not know if you’re being filmed.”