Charissa Thompson was the latest guest on Richard Deitsch’s Sports Media Podcast, and it’s a very powerful listen.
Thompson, currently an NFL host for Fox Sports, was the victim of hacking earlier this year, with personal pictures from her iCloud account being spread online. That’s a horrible, horrible thing, and Thompson didn’t gloss over just how much it affected her.
“Sara said, ‘Oh my God, you are on the internet,’” Thompson recalled this week. “I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ I immediately Googled my name and all this stuff popped up. The next call I made was to (Fox Sports sideline reporter) Erin Andrews and I just lost it. I started screaming. 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.”
“I was in a really bad place for a while after that because I started questioning me,” Thompson said. “I am so open with a lot of things in my life and this was so private and it was really tough. I get emotional talking about…It was just really shitty. I try to bring levity to a lot of situations and laugh stuff off but this one was tough. I felt dumb that I had left those pictures there.”
It’s an incredibly emotional interview, and all credit to her for being willing to talk about it. It’s sad that she has to feel any sort of complicity at all; it’s easy to say “well, a celebrity shouldn’t have those pictures!,” but that’s stupid. A crime is a crime.
And to further illustrate how her privacy and safety has been invaded, Thompson talked about how a man was found at her home in California, not by her, or the police, but by a house-sitting Ryen Russillo, who was waiting for his own apartment to be ready:
“This guy had shown up at my house; Ryen came back from dinner, and this guy was standing behind my garbage cans in like an unlit area. The sensor lights came on, and Ryen was like “Who are you?” and the guy was like “I’m here to surprise Charissa for my birthday.” And Ryen at first was like, maybe she does know this person, and the guy said “Yeah, call her, she knows I’m here.” So Ryen calls me, and I miss it because I’m three hours ahead in Buffalo, so I miss Ryen’s call. And the guy then says “We’ve been texting…” and Ryen said “Show me the messages” and nothing is adding up.
And the guy says “Well, I don’t actually have any messages with her, I just feel I know her because of the way she speaks on social media.”
After Russillo sent the guy on his way and called the police, Thompson reviewed the security footage a few days later:
“After watching the footage, this guy was at my house for 2.5 hours. I have two entrances, a side entrance and another door, he was trying to open the doors, lifting up flower pots looking for keys, and he had a big piece of luggage with him. Then I was able to see Ryen pull up and their whole exchange.”
That’s just terrifying. Thankfully things worked out like they did, but these are two awful incidents within months of each other for one woman in sports media. Thompson’s willingness to talk about her feelings and how she’s learning to adapt her behavior while still retaining her sense of self is enlightening, and her introspection and insights are valuable.
The whole interview is certainly worth a listen, too, but thankfully there aren’t more harrowing incidents to relate. Hopefully that’s the status quo for Thompson moving forward, too.