Erin Andrews, the ESPN sideline reporter that found herself embroiled in an Internet video scandal a year ago, seems to have become in another video scandal. Oddly enough, the latest scandal involves the same illegally obtained hotel peephole video that gained notoriety in August 2009 when Erin Andrews issued a statement acknowledging that the viral video was indeed of her naked in an unknown hotel room. She threatened legal action and the saw the peephole videographer eventually arrested and sentenced to 30 months in prison. But The Dirty, a website dedicated to celebrity gossip, received a cease and desist letter this past week for posting the naked images of the popular reporter and has publicly refused to do so. TMZ revealed the letter Wednesday, noting that the Erin Andrews people video scandal sequel had already started…
Erin Andrews’ lawyers sent a letter to The Dirty, pointing out that the naked pictures and video were owned by Andrews and that The Dirty was “unlawfully” posting the images on their website. The lawyers pointed out that the pictures were exclusively under copyright to Andrews and that the website’s continued posting of the material was, like the original act of acquiring the peephole video, a violation of her right to privacy.
Andrews’ lawyers also explained that failure on the part of The Dirty to take down the pictures and eliminate every trace of the images or face a lawsuit. They want the gossip website to remove the even the trace of stills “from all search engine databases, including, but not limited to, Google…”
Nik Richie, who very visibly runs The Dirty, reposted the 22 pictures with the caption, “Erin Andrews, can you ask your lawyers if this is the post they want me to take down because I am confused?” He added, “Welcome back to reality… your fault. — nik.”
Legal blogger Kashmir Hill pointed at for Forbes.com that it wouldn’t be the first time The Dirty has been hit with a lawsuit and that the “provocative” maneuver by Nik Richie “seems sure to result in another lawsuit.”
The last time Erin Andrews threatened legal action, the FBI tracked down Michael Barrett and arrested him. The peephole videographer, who took a series of short videos of the popular reporter through a handmade peephole while she was naked and alone in several hotel rooms and spliced them into a video that he uploaded onto the Internet, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in May.
Update: It appears that The Dirty‘s reposting was just a show of braggadocio. Accessing the posting of the Erin Andrews pictures on the website now lands the user on a “no longer available” page.