Fox Sports NFL host Charissa Thompson endured the unimaginable back in January, when someone hacked into her iCloud, stole nude photos of her and released them online.
Since then, Thompson has been in a personal and external fight to regain her feeling of privacy, a process she discussed publicly for the first time this week on a podcast with The Athletic.
“The pictures were obviously from a relationship I had been in,” said Thompson, who re-signed with Fox Sports last year. “These were from so long ago. It was really, really tough. Of course, there was embarrassment. Look, I am very open with my life and I don’t hide a lot of things, but when it comes to your physical being and intimate photos between you and your boyfriend and things that you sent to someone when you were in a long distance relationship and in love, it is your private property. So it felt — the obvious — like such an invasion. But then the depths I am still taking to get back that privacy are unbelievable. The way I equate is someone came into my home, robbed my home of all its possessions, put it out in the cul-de-sac right in front of me, and I had to buy all of it right back to put back in my house.”
After she learned of the leak from former "SportsCenter" host Sara Walsh, Thompson’s first call was to Erin Andrews, the Fox Sports sideline reporter who went through a similar episode in 2009. A stalker filmed Andrews naked in her hotel room through a peephole and the video was later posted to the internet. The perpetrator was eventually sentenced to multiple years in prison.
“I just lost it. I started screaming,” Thompson said of that initial conversation with Andrews. “She was the person I called because no one else I knew had been through that, and she was such a huge, huge support system for me and still is now with the stuff I am going through. She felt it on a level I can’t even begin to understand given the nature of what happened to her. I just remember thinking, this can’t be real.”
Thompson said she was in “a really bad place for a while” and “started questioning” herself.
“I try to bring levity to a lot of situations and laugh stuff off but this one was tough,” she added. “I felt dumb that I had left those pictures there.”
Thompson has now turned her focus and energy to finding the hackers who performed this heinous breach of privacy. She said she’s spending an “astronomical amount of money” to conduct a thorough search and investigation.
“The digital footprint isn’t DNA,” Thompson said. “You can mask who you are on the Internet compared to a physical crime that has been committed. But I am going to play a full game here. I am not going to give up in the third quarter.”