“I would never disrespect Ms. Andrews and what she has been through,” Neal Peskind says
A Marriott representative who testified for the defense in Erin Andrews’ civil trial denies a Nashville bartender’s contention that he showed friends the infamous nude video of the sportscaster that a stalker captured through a hotel peep hole.
“He said it was costing him millions so he was going to show it to everyone. His friends were making fun of her and her body,” bartender Nicole Branigan wrote on Twitter. “We had to ask him to stop. It was disgusting and horrifying.”
But Neal Peskind — a representative of West End Hotel Partners, which owned the Vanderbilt Marriott where Andrews’ privacy was invaded — says he was the one who asked his friends to stop showing the video.
“Last night, Mr. Peskin (sic) and two of his friends, a husband and wife, were having dinner, and the friends brought the video up on their phone, to which he objected and immediately asked them to stop. The video was then turned off,” the defense team said in a statement to the media. “We don’t make light of this situation. Ms. Andrews was the victim of a crime, which has been our position from the beginning and is the reason Mr. Peskin [sic] asked his friends to stop the video. Other comments attributed to Mr. Peskin [sic] surrounding this conversation never occurred.”
Here’s Peskind’s personal response:
I was at a private dinner meeting with friends. They brought up the allegations and they started viewing the video. I asked them to stop, and while they did so, it was not as quickly as I had hoped. This incident has been blown into something it was not. I would never disrespect Ms. Andrews and what she has been through. This is a very unfortunate situation that should not be a reflection on West End Hotel Partners or to our commitment to the issues in this case surrounding what happened to her. I sincerely apologize for my participation in what happened.
TMZ has reported that Andrew’s legal team plans to ask the judge to put Peskind back on the stand, but a judge has not yet ruled whether the witness can be recalled.
Michael David Barrett pleaded guilty to recording videos of Andrews through peepholes on the doors of her hotel rooms in Nashville, Tenn., while she was covering college football for ESPN in 2008. He also admitted to attempting to make secret recordings of her in Milwaukee, and was sentenced to serve 2 and 1/2 years in prison.
Andrews is suing Barrett, along with West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital Group, for $75 million, because she believes the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University could have prevented the crime.
“This could have been stopped,” Andrews said during her testimony at the trial, taking place in Nashville. “The Nashville Marriott could have just called me and said, ‘We’re putting this man that requested to be next to you, is this OK?’ And I would have called the cops and we would have gotten him. I’m so angry. I’m so mad.”
Branigan’s tweets have been deleted from her Twitter feed, but she did issue what appears to be her last comment on the matter.