A CHICAGO WOMAN is suing Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and the owners of a Hampton Inn & Suites in Albany, New York, on the grounds that somebody filmed her in the shower when she stayed at the hotel in 2015 and has been blackmailing her with the video. Furthermore, the woman claims that, though she cannot identify her persecutor, he or she must be an employee or agent of the hotel with access to her personal information.
In the lawsuit filed Nov. 30 in Fairfax County, Virginia, Circuit Court, the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, names as a defendant the owners of Hampton Inn & Suites Albany Downtown, Banyan Investment Group and Albany Hotel Partners. Banyan Investment Group is led by President and CEO Rakesh Chauhan.
The woman said she was staying at the hotel in July 2015 after she had graduated law school and was staying in Albany to take the New York bar exam. She learned of the video in September of this year when an unknown person emailed her a link to the video on the pornographic website smutr.com saying, “This is you, right?”
The title of the video online had the woman’s full name in it.
“That same night, plaintiff received another email from the same sender with specific personal details about plaintiff including where she attended university, that she had taken the New York bar exam, and where plaintiff worked,” the lawsuit says.
After the woman did not reply, she received another e-mail from the same sender. “‘I’m a perv. I don’t hurt anyone,’” the email said. “‘I like to watch. No need to worry about me I just like to watch and then I move on to the next.'”
Since then the plaintiff has received numerous e-mails as the sender continued to post the video on various porn websites. At one point the sender asked her to “promise me my own show. That’s the hottest,” to remove the video, and later the person began demanding money.
“The individual or individuals who recorded plaintiff knew which room she stayed in, knew her full name, and knew her personal email address. This information was provided to the Hampton Inn-Albany upon check-in to plaintiff’s room,” the suit says. “To have access to personal information (full name, email address, etc.) the individual performing the unauthorized recording would have to be an employee of the hotel or someone with direct access to the rooms.”
According to the suit, the plaintiff has learned that other women were also recorded in the same room at the hotel.
Chauhan did not return a call seeking comment in time for this article, but a spokesman for the hotel said the owners were “shocked and stunned” by the allegations.
“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,” the spokesman said. “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 he or she is held accountable.”
A Hilton spokesperson released a similar statement.
“We commit to supporting the independent ownership and management of the property as they investigate, respond, and cooperate with any law enforcement investigations,” the Hilton spokesperson said.