Elisabeth Hasselbeck has a lot of strong opinions -- but sometimes, it would be better if she kept them to herself. On Wednesday's episode of The View, Hasselbeck apologized through tears for her previous criticism of Dancing with the Stars contestant Erin Andrews.
Andrews, an ESPN sportscaster, was stalked last year by a 49-year-old man who secretly videotaped her naked; on Monday, the stalker began his 30-month prison sentence. During a "Hot Topics" segment on The View, Hasselbeck commented on the news by showing photographs of Andrews' skimpy Dancing With the Stars costumes, and wondering aloud if they were appropriate "in light of what happened."
"I mean, in some way if I'm [the stalker], I'm like, 'Man! I just could've waited 12 weeks and seen this -- a little bit less -- without the prison time!" Hasselbeck joked. The other co-hosts argued with Hasselbeck's criticism, including guest-host Gabourey Sidibe, who pointed out that Andrews' gig on Dancing with the Stars is both consensual and paid (unlike the naked video that now lives on the internet). Hasselbeck held her ground -- but changed her tune the next day, after Andrews called her comments "a slap in the face to victims of stalking and victims of sexual predators."
Welling up with emotion, Hasselbeck said that she had to tell her five-year-old daughter Grace that she'd hurt somebody's feelings. She tried to turn it into a teachable moment by telling Grace that "reckless words pierce someone's heart like a sword." Grace's response: "Mommy, why don't you just call Erin and tell her you're sorry?" Hasselbeck says that she did call Andrews, but she also wanted to apologize publicly.
We're glad that the View host saw the error of her ways, since her comments were wrong-headed on a number of levels: Andrews doesn't choose her own wardrobe for DWTS, and even if she did, it wouldn't forfeit her right to personal privacy and safety. But we would have appreciated the apology more if Hasselbeck had explained why she was wrong. Her editorial about Andrews' outfits was classic victim-blaming; by dressing in skimpy clothes, Hasselbeck seemed to say, the sportscaster was encouraging creepy men to photograph her through keyholes. That kind of thinking is extremely hurtful to any woman who's been the victim of a sexual predator. It's also hypocritical, coming from a TV personality who's appeared on magazine covers in a bikini. But Hasselbeck doesn't seem to have thought things through that far; all she knows is that she "hurt someone's feelings." And that's true, but it's not the whole story.
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