As much as we’d try to ignore the latest stuff coming out against ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews, she at least says she intends to compete tonight on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” despite death threats that have reportedly come to light over the weekend.
What’s is all about? Supposedly, a man from Newport News, Va., sent emails last week to Dan Patrick’s syndicated radio show detailing his desire to see Andrews dead.
Apparently, this is serious enough to act upon. Last year, Olympic gymnast and “Dancing with the Stars” champion Shawn Johnson went through a similar ordeal. On March 25, 2009, while Johnson was competing on the show’s eighth season, a man was arrested for trying to break into the show’s studio in order to meet her. Loaded guns, duct tape and love letters were found in his car that day, police said.
“I would love to get close enough to her to show her my suicide vest,” the man wrote to Patrick in an e-mail on March 14, TMZ.com reported (linked here).
A couple weeks later, he reportedly sent another: “I hope she gets shot in the face. I would love to see if she can dance away from a hail of gunfire. That would really make my day.”
Officials are said to know the identity of the man who sent at least a dozen letters because he made no attempt to hide his name.
The first one was reportedly received by Patrick’s show on Sept. 16, and the program’s broadcaster, DirecTV, promptly turned them over to Andrews’ representatives.
Patrick said on Monday’s show that he’s been in contact with Andrews and her parents and they know the back story to how these emails were received and finally opened.
“We get hundreds and hundreds of emails on a daily basis, and (a producer) came across one that was a death threat against Erin Andrews,” said Patrick. “We did not sit on any type of information that had to do with these death threats. As soon as we saw it, we passed it on (to the bosses at DirecTV, who passed it onto authorities), even during the commercial break …
“We didn’t want to bring it to light. This story wasn’t about us. It was about the safety of Erin Andrews. And if we received a death threat that had to do with anybody, it would have been passed on.
“I thought we were being painted in an unfair light (in some media accounts) because it seemed like we sat on this information. (Producer) Seton (O’Conner) went back to look through all these emails just to see if there was anything else from this person. We did not open (other unopened emails from him) until Tuesday. These were unopened emails prior to the email that he opened last Tuesday.
“(Andrews and her family) know we did not sit on this information but some people ran with the information and made it seem like we had this information and didn’t pass it on. We would never do that. I thought my staff was being painted unfairly here.”
Andrew has reportedly asked ABC to increase the reality television show’s level of security while she remains a contestant. The show is taped at CBS Television City.
“I’m glad I’m here,” Andrews told People.com. “I have a dance (Monday night) and I don’t want to let (partner) Maks (Chmerkovskiy) down, I don’t want to let my family down, and I don’t want to let myself down.”
The story was not among the top 10 headlines on the ESPN.com page as of 9:30 a.m.
And as we’re also painfully aware, in 2008, Andrews was victimized by a man who videotaped her nude through the peepholes of her hotel rooms three different states.
It’s also rather interesting: On a Dan Patrick show last week, it was discovered by one of the show’s producers that Andrews was doing a lot of radio interviews that day to promote her “DWTS” appearance, but she wasn’t booked to come on Patrick’s show. He and the crew joked about her lack of appearing on their show would lead them to endorse voting against her on the next “DWTS” episode.