Michael Irvin releases footage of hotel encounter at center of $100 million lawsuit against Marriott
After a month of legal maneuvering, former Dallas Cowboys star and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin showed reporters the hotel surveillance video at the center of of his $100 million lawsuit against Marriott on Tuesday.
The video, which Marriott fought to prevent from being seen by the public, shows the encounter that led to Irvin being pulled from his job at NFL Network during the week before Super Bowl LVII, due to misconduct allegations from a female employee of the Marriott-owned Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
Irvin and his attorney, Levi McCathern, displayed the video during a news conference, hours after it was reported they were dropping the lawsuit against Marriott, initially filed in Texas, in order to refile it in Arizona.
NEW VIDEO: Lawyers for Michael Irvin show the surveillance video from the hotel where an employee mad a sexual assault allegation against Irvin. The length of the conversation was for nearly 2 minutes. Irvin says he talked to the woman about the sports shows he’s on. @FOX4 pic.twitter.com/1IRvzB0UmP
— Steven Dial (@StevenDialFox4) March 14, 2023
In the video, which contains no sound, Irvin can be seen walking up to the employee and shaking her hand. Over the next couple of minutes, Irvin can be seen touching the employee's arm twice, the employee taking a couple steps back from him, the two shaking hands and then Irvin looking in her direction as she slowly walks away.
Irvin, whose legal team has claimed the video will exonerate him, has denied all wrongdoing and alleged in his lawsuit that Marriott tried to "cancel" him, comparing the treatment to a lynching in a previous news conference. He is seeking damages for defamation and wrongfully interfering with a business relationship.
The refiled lawsuit also now features six defendants: Marriott International, the Renaissance Hotel Operating Company, his accuser and three other hotel employees, per Awful Announcing.
You can compare the video to how Marriott described its employee's allegations in a motion filed last week, via USA Today:
On the night in question, Marriott says that Irvin flagged down the accuser and "appeared to be visibly intoxicated" and began his aggressive behavior toward the employee, shaking her hand, stating she was attractive, and asking her if she watched football.
“Irvin also reached out and touched the Victim’s arm during this conversation without her consent, causing her to step back, becoming visibly uncomfortable. Irvin then asked the Victim whether she knew anything about having a “big Black man inside of [her]," the lawsuit says.
“Irvin then attempted to grab the Victim’s hand again and said he was ‘sorry if he brought up bad memories’ for her.’ The Victim pulled her hand away and tried to back away from Irvin as he continued to move towards her.”
In his own account of the incident shortly after it was reported, Irvin said he was unable to recall the full conversation because he had been drinking and insisted his only physical contact with the woman was a handshake, per the Dallas Morning News:
“Honestly, I’m a bit baffled with it all,” Irvin said. “This all happened in a 45-second conversation in the lobby. When I got back after going out … I came into the lobby, and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds.
“We shook hands. Then, I left. … That’s all I know.”
“I don’t really recall that conversation, to tell you the truth,” Irvin said. “We were out drinking. It was just a friendly conversation. ‘What’s up?’ I don’t even know. … I am totally perplexed.”
During his news conference Tuesday, Irvin recalled he spoke with the woman about the sports shows he is on.
This is all part of a legal fight still only in its nascent stages. Irvin's team claimed a victory by getting the video released, but there is always a high standard to clear in a defamation suit involving a famous person.