By Emily Geiger
So, suppose that, while you were traveling for work, someone takes naked pictures of you without your knowledge or permission and plasters those pictures of you all over the internet.
You would probably expect your employer to be extremely sympathetic and do everything in its power to stop other people from spreading around these illicit photos. Maybe, for example, they could refuse to work with other businesses who contributed to the spread of the photos.
But, what message would it send if your employer did stop working with other such businesses, and then decided that it was going to go back on its word and pretend like nothing ever happened?
This is the exact situation that is playing out for ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews. When surreptitiously gotten nude video of her showed up on the internet, it looked like her employer, ESPN, was doing the right thing and protecting their employee however they could. ESPN even stopped working with people from other news outlets, such as the New York Post, who had published still images from the ill-gotten video of Andrews.
But now, after a weeklong boycott, ESPN is reversing its policy and will again be working with other news outlets who contributed to the sexual exploitation of its employee.
And to answer my own question, the message ESPN is sending is this: the sexual exploitation of females is really not that big of a deal. Especially not when doing something to stop it might interfere with a few idiot blowhard commentators being able to comment on some useless sports story that, in the grand scheme of our culture, really doesn’t matter.
The truly sad part of this is that ESPN, being a male oriented business, is sending a horrible message to all of the men who watch it, that this sort of behavior is really no big deal, and that women who are exploited should just get over it. And, that the men who engage in the sexual exploitation of women won’t be punished, and their behavior will just be swept under the rug.
Sadly, ESPN’s audience is probably the last demographic that should be hearing this message as many of its viewers are probably the ones who googled Ms. Andrews to view the exploitative video in question.
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