What's Behind the Erin Andrews Death Threats?
By John Mitchell Posted Apr 6th 2010 05:00PM
This week, reports surfaced that ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews, who is currently wowing the judges on 'Dancing with the Stars,' has been receiving threatening e-mails that are currently being investigated by the FBI.
The threats, which were sent to DirecTV's 'Dan Patrick Show' (Patrick is a former colleague of Andrews), reportedly began last September. The first e-mails were sexual in nature, and they progressively became more violent, culminating recently with a direct threat to Andrews' life -- "Somebody should shoot her in the face," the e-mail read. DirecTV immediately notified authorities and representatives for Andrews.
While celebrities often struggle with obsessed fans, it's hard not to ask, 'Why her?' Has Erin Andrews become the subject of such lurid fascination because she is a woman working in a predominantly male profession or is it simply the byproduct of a specific kind of fame?
"I think, to a certain segment of the population, she's almost like the classic Internet stalker bait, for some reason," AJ Daulerio, editor-in-chief of sports blog Deadspin, tells PopEater. "I think a lot of her persona and a lot of her popularity was forged by the Internet, and even though she's on television, a lot of her fan base is from sports blogs and other things, where there became this worship of her."
That worship first turned dangerous in 2008, when one obsessed fan, Michael David Barrett, began stalking Andrews. According to PEOPLE, Barrett admitted to stalking the sideline reporter for 18 months, reportedly tracking her to three different hotel rooms in three states. He used his mobile phone to film Andrews in the nude through the peephole in the door of one of her hotel rooms, and later uploaded the footage to the Internet. Just last week, Barrett was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
"For whatever reason, Erin Andrews has this other level that brings out this other side of obsession with her," Daulerio says. "She has this popularity that's kind of something that we've never actually seen before. There have been plenty of pretty and attractive sideline reporters, but she's created kind of like her own level of fame on the Internet. It's unprecedented at this point, and I think with that added fame comes this other ... it opens it up to this uglier element."
Andrews has long been the subject of scrutiny on countless sports blogs, and more than a few focus less on her skills as a reporter and more on her appearance. Deadspin reports that despite the criticism, Andrews has never been anything less than a pro when it comes to her job, and has even taken other blogs to task for reporting more on her appearance – her supposedly "skimpy" attire – and behavior – how she "suggestively" touches players – than on the athletic events they purport to be covering.
But at the same time, Andrews' bosses at ESPN haven't exactly downplayed her physical appeal. "ESPN's not ignoring the fact that her popularity is based on her personality and her looks and that she can do her job reasonably well," says Daulerio. "And I don't think she is either ... I mean, she's not exactly hiding out by going on 'Dancing with the Stars.'"
Adding fuel to the fire, according to TV Squad, is the fact that sports fans can be particularly obsessive, and many may resent Andrews, seeing her as unfit or inappropriate for her job. "So there's Andrews, interviewing college and pro players and coaches on the sidelines, doing a fun job that a lot of these obsessives probably think they can do themselves. So jealousy creeps in," the site postulates.
Meanwhile, Andrews is doing her best to not let the current threats to her safety rule her life. Security around her has been beefed up, and she has refused to quit 'Dancing with the Stars,' telling PEOPLE, "I don't want to let Maks [partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy] down, I don't want to let my family down, and I don't want to let myself down ... I'm not going to stop living my life."
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