Image Credit: Andrews: Adam Larkey/ABCThe View‘s Elisabeth Hasselbeck has apologized, publicly and privately, for snarking it up on yesterday’s episode with regards to Erin Andrews’ skimpy Dancing With the Stars costumes, which apparently Hasselbeck found, well, too slutty for a stalking victim. For those who aren’t familiar with the Andrews stalking saga, a quick rundown: The ESPN sportscaster-turned-Dancing contestant was filmed nude through a peephole in her hotel room, and the video was subsequently posted online. (The perpetrator was sentenced in March.)
But it turns out she hasn’t been acting victim-y enough. Sadly, Hasselbeck was just saying out loud what far too many still think: that a victim of any kind of sex-related crime ought to act demure forever after: “In the past three weeks she’s been wearing next to nothing,” Hasselbeck said. “In light of what happened and as a legal [matter] — and as inexcusable as it was for that horrific guy to go in and try to peep on her in her hotel room. I mean, in some way if I’m him, I’m like, ‘Man! I just could’ve waited 12 weeks and seen this — a little bit less — without the prison time!’”
Andrews subsequently told People the comments were “a slap in the face to victims of stalking and sexual predators. As a mother and a woman, I’m disappointed she went there.”
It seems like, perhaps, Hasselbeck was trying to make fun of the idiocy of the guy who did this, but, wow, she should leave the jokes to the comediennes who make up the rest of the View panel. (Note Joy Behar’s dig directed at Hasselbeck’s own strapless dress.) And God bless Gabourey Sidibe, who was trying to defend Andrews’ right to wear what she wants on Dancing, but missed the mark a tad by noting that she’s “getting paid” for this one, and not for the peephole video. How about just: She can wear whatever she wants because she can wear whatever she wants.
Nonetheless, Hasslebeck’s argument is really the problematic one here, apology or no. “To her credit, she wore gorgeous classic gowns at some point in the competition,” Hasselbeck noted. Yes, God forbid a woman — who happened to be the victim of a stalker — show both her “classic gown” side and her “wearing next to nothing” side. Not to mention: Have you seen how little everyone on this show wears? (Andrews’ male partner included, and, um, this.) I don’t want to make showing a little leg or midriff into the greatest of feminist acts, but I will say this: If a woman tones down and reins in any hint of her sexuality just because she was victimized, well, that means such crimes can be used to tame and control women. It’s about more than just Hasselbeck being thoughtless, though I’m happy her daughter talked her into saying she was sorry.
The apology’s a good start — but if one of the hosts of the show that makes women’s voices matter on television could even think these thoughts, we have a long way to go.