If you were away from your computers and enjoying a summer weekend, you probably missed most of the story about the Erin Andrews peephole story. It broke late in the day on Friday, so here's a quick primer of the pertinent facts.
A grainy video of a naked woman who looked a bit like the ESPN sideline reporter filmed in a way that made it seem she was unaware of the camera made the rounds of several websites, and was quickly followed by lawyers from ESPN demanding it be taken down. Since Andrews was never explicitly named, ESPN's action was unexpected but their letter was followed quickly by a letter from Andrews' own attorney seeking civil and criminal action against whoever took the video.
So it was apparently her, and the internets exploded as a result. "Erin Andrews peephole video link" is the number one search term on Google at this hour, and "Aaron Andrews" is the third most popular. Most reaction to the existence of the video has been negative, but the data makes it pretty clear that there's a market for these sorts of videos.
Several sites purporting to have the video popped up and promptly gave the computers visiting them viruses. That seems like a pretty fair reward for trying to watch a video shot under such circumstances, all things considered, but how different is this video from the slew of paparazzi/hidden camera shots we've seen in the past?
Not very, even if TMZ professes to be outraged by the video's existence. It's a natural progression of a society that gobbles up shots of topless or underwear-less starlets and sex tapes with a voraciousness normally seen at all-you-can buffets. It's also a natural progression of a society that seems to believe that anything done by celebrities is fair game for the public, even as we feign disgust or dismay at whatever may come down the pike.
The Andrews case is very telling on that front. During the College World Series, a video of her rear end shot around the web with great speed, and no one thought twice about it before posting and collecting page views by the thousands. That video, with her clothed and working, is apples to the peephole video's oranges, but it's not hard to see how one thing leads to the other.