Monday, March 07, 2016

What would you do? Neal Peskind kind of just sits there.

I haven’t been particularly following the Erin Andrews case, but something about it caught my interest the other day.

For my readers who are drawing a blank on it, Andrews is a sports journalist, formerly of ESPN, currently of Fox Sports.

A number of years ago, she was the victim of a stalker who somehow managed to film her, in the nude, in a couple of different hotel rooms. In the Internet age, no one will be surprised to learn that at least one of the tapes the perv made made its way online, and quickly went viral. (The combination of blonde+nude+sports is simply irresistible to so many.)

The perv went to jail – he’s already completed his sentence – but Andrews decided to sue Marriott, one of the hotels she was filmed in, alleging that they’d been negligent in giving the perv the room next to her when he asked for it.

Andrews is looking for $75M in damages.

One of those involved in the trial is one Neal Peskind, an executive for a group that owns the Nashville Marriott.

The other day, a day in which “Erin Andrews broke down at the stand while testifying about the long-term damage she suffered from the video”, Peskind – who is an attorney, and who has testified on behalf of his hotel - headed out for a meal with a couple of friends.

Soon after, the leaked recording of a naked Andrews began to play.

Why, exactly, remains a matter of debate. Ask the representative Neal Peskind and his legal team, and they’ll tell you that he quickly “objected” to the sight of the video, asking his friends to shut it off “immediately.”

Ask the server who was present, however, and you’ll hear something else. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the server claimed that Peskind said the video "was costing him millions so he was going to show it to everyone. [Peskind's] friends were making fun of her and her body."

“We had to ask him to stop. It was disgusting and horrifying," she continued. (Source: Huffington Post) 

Peskind has since said that while he had asked his friends to turn the video off, they took their sweet old time about it.

Regardless of whether Peskind is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth here – or whether the server is a cool, clear, seeker of wisdom and truth - Peskind is a well-educated man, a graduate of University of Michigan. So you have to question his judgment.

He’s involved – and not just casually – in a case that’s getting a lot of publicity, a case involving a somewhat well-known person, and a case where there’s a lot of money on the table. And he’s in a public place. What might be the sensible thing to do?

Obviously, if it turns out that he was the one who started playing show and tell, or if he was really making remarks about Andrews: what a total and utter jerk. The sensible – and decent – thing to do would be to NOT have pulled the video up and start narrating it to begin with.

If it was his friends who were doing the viewing, the sensible thing to do would be to tell your friends to turn the damned thing off. Which Peskind may have done. But if they didn’t do it fast enough, the sensible thing to do would be to get up from the table, saying something along the lines of “I’m outta here.”

But this jamoke, while he may have told his friends to shut the show down, just sits there while his friends continue to look at the video for a while before they bother to turn it off.

What is wrong with people?

If you want to do stuff like this, you should at least have the good sense to do it in private.

This would not necessarily have saved the day. Given the lack of judgment shown by Peskind’ and his friends to begin with, one of them might well have decided to video Peskind watching the video and posted it to Facebook. But still…

This will not likely impact the trial’s outcome, but talk about bad business behavior.

At minimum, I hope that whoever runs the firm where Peskind holds a quite senior position – SVP of Portfolio Operations, according to LinkedIn – slaps him up and down the side of the head.

What a jerk!

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