It was reported several months ago that nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews were circulating on the Internet. The pictures were taken in several hotels. The man accused of taking the videos, Michael David Barrett, has been arrested.
It turns out that a majority of the videos were taken at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University. Apparently, the photographer was able to learn which room Ms. Andrews was staying in and was able to rent a room next door. He allegedly modified the peep hole in the room to be able to video Ms. Andrews. Read more in The Tennessean.
Several interesting questions arise in the mind of the reasonably prudent tort lawyer. First, how was Mr. Barrett (or whoever took the videos) able to learn Ms. Andrews’ room number? Most hotels will not give anyone, even an alleged spouse, the room number of a guest. Indeed, most hotels will not even announce your room number when you check in, preferring instead to write it on the inside of document that holds the card key that permits you to enter your room. I wonder how Mr. Barrett (or whoever) was able to obtain the room number of a celebrity?
Second, how was Mr. Barrett (or whoever) able to modify the peephole without getting caught? The article in The Tennessean reports that the peep hole was modified with a hacksaw. How did that occur and not be noticed by security or housekeeping personnel?
Third, how did Mr. Barrett get a room next to Ms. Andrews (if that allegation is true)? According to an article in USA Today. the FBI affidavit said that
when Barrett made his reservation for the Marriott, he specifically requested a room next to Andrews, according to the AP. Here’s what the records in the hotel’s computer showed: "INFO-GST RQST TO RM NXT TO (individual A)" and aother [sic] line listed this email address, Mike.Barrett@Combined.com, according to the FBI documents.
If that is correct, one would think alarms would have been sounding at Marriott. Why would a hotel agree to a request to put a guest in a room next to a celebrity? Requesting a specific room is one thing. Requesting a room next to a celebrity would make one wonder about the intentions of the requester.
Fourth, how was he able to stand outside of her door and make the videos without being seen?
Hotels have a responsibility to make their premises reasonably safe for their guests. This includes the responsibility to exercise reasonable care to protect the privacy of their guests. As more of the facts are released for public consumption, we will learn if Marriott did what Erin Andrews had a right to expect.