A hotel guest is suing Hilton Worldwide for $100 million, claiming she was unknowingly filmed showering at a Hampton Inn and Suites in Albany, N.Y., in 2015 — and then blackmailed by the “perv” who took the footage.
The lawsuit, filed in Virginia, where Hilton Worldwide is based, claims that the woman initially had no knowledge that her privacy was invaded until September of this year, when the self-described “perv” reached out and informed her of his actions.
“It was like I had been hit by a truck. It just knocked the wind out of me,” said the woman, whose identity has not been revealed, in an interview with “Good Morning America” earlier this week.
“When you enter a hotel room, you have an expectation of privacy and safety. In my case, both of these things were stolen from me,” shje added in a statement provided to Fox News via her lawyer. “What happened to me is an incredible violation and should be treated as a sex crime. Hotel operators need to recognize the threat that hidden cameras present and take steps to prevent this grotesque invasion from happening to others.”
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According to the lawsuit, the woman, from Chicago, received an email from the blackmailer on Sept. 30, containing a link to the footage that had been posted to a pornographic website. Her name was also shared on the site, the Albany Times Union reports. The next day, the blackmailer followed up with more personal information, including her reason for being in New York, which was to take the bar exam.
“I’m a perv. I don’t hurt anyone. I like to watch,” one portion of the email read. “No need to worry about me I just like to watch and then I move on to the next.”
The blackmailer later asked the woman in a separate email to “promise me my own show,” or else the videos would remain on the Internet and “get copied on every website.”
The emailer later threatened to distribute the videos and her personal information all over the Internet if she didn’t respond by the end of the day — a threat the blackmailer followed through on by Oct. 11, according to the suit.
The blackmailer continued to torment the woman throughout the rest of the month, at times calling her a “whore” and a “b—-,” the Times Union reported. The emailer also began sending the footage to her co-workers and eventually asking that she begin sending $1,000 for the next year, along with $2,000 up front, presumably to stop the distribution.
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The woman’s lawyer, Roland Christensen, said he believes the blackmailer to be an employee of the hotel based on the suspect’s knowledge of his client’s personal information, NBC News reported. He said, however, that the suspect’s exact identity has not been determined.
Christensen also said he believes the hotel room was “used repeatedly to film people over an extended period,” and says he is aware of at least one other secretly filmed video showing a different guest in that same room, according to “Good Morning America.”
In a statement provided to Fox News, Hilton Worldwide has vowed to continue its investigation into the matter.
“On Monday, December 3rd we were alerted by ABC News to details of an alleged incident at the Hampton Inn and Suites Albany-Downtown in 2015,” a Hilton spokesperson said. “We take the safety and wellbeing of our guests incredibly seriously, and find the details included in the civil filing distressing. We commit to supporting the independent ownership and management of the property as they investigate, respond, and cooperate with any law enforcement investigations.”
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A representative from the hotel also confirmed that a recent renovation of the property did not turn up any recording devices.
“We were shocked and stunned to learn of the allegations raised in the complaint we received last night,” a spokesman for the hotel tells Fox News. “The safety and security of our guests is our highest priority, and we emphatically do not condone any form of this type of invasion of privacy. Thus far, no evidence of any kind has been found during our initial review of the situation.
“Recently, the hotel underwent a complete renovation. During that process, no recording devices of any kind were uncovered. We will continue to work with the authorities to discover the perpetrator and see that s/he is held accountable.”