Letterman’s mea culpa - Macleans.ca
 

Letterman’s mea culpa

The late-night talk show host confesses to extra-marital affairs


 

David Letterman turned his late-night talk show into a personal confession forum last night, announcing that he has been having affairs with his staffers and that he’s been blackmailed over them. The host said he got a package three weeks ago with a letter that said “I know that you do some terrible, terrible things, and I can prove that you do these terrible things,” along with evidence of his extra-marital flings. The blackmailer demanded $2 million to keep him quiet, or else he’d write a book and a movie script about Letterman’s behaviour. Letterman met with the man and then reported him to the police, who grabbed the blackmailer in a sting operation. Though Letterman didn’t identify the blackmailer on the show, he has been identified online as Robert Halderman, a producer at CBS, who had been in a position to know about Letterman’s habit of sleeping with female members of his staff.

Variety


 
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Letterman’s mea culpa

  1. Are you sure they were extra-marital?

  2. If Letterman was sleeping with his own staff then there are serious abuse of power issues here.

    That said, I like the way he handled it: declare it openly and have the creep charged with blackmail rather than knuckling under to extortion. But what's with the laughing from his audience when he comes clean about it? These people are really messed up.

  3. If Letterman was sleeping with his own staff then there are serious abuse of power issues here.

    That said, I like the way he handled it: declare it openly and have the creep charged with blackmail rather than knuckling under to extortion. But what's with the laughter from his audience when he comes clean about it? These people are really messed up.

    • It's a late-night crowd. There's an implicit expectation that the crowd laugh on a Pavlovian level.
      Host opens mouth –> Hahaha

    • Well the laughter was because I don't think many were sure if he was kidding at first as he was telling the story.

      As Jaine Weinman has written on his blog, Letterman also used his normal stry telling style with pauses and face etc. so that until he finally said what he had done nobody was sure and even then it wasn't 100% believable.

      I give him full marks for coming clean. As for the abuse-of-power, well I am not sure what the law says and I guess some parts of society would be against it no matter what but I would have to know if the women were consensual or felt in any way pressured or if some sort of implicit or explicit quid pro quo were involved.

  4. From a PR perspective, you have to admit it was pretty brilliant. Celebrities hide all kinds of atrocious stuff. At least Letterman is owning his f*&k ups.

    • Brilliant? You mean
      1. hide affair
      2. get extorted
      3. go to police
      4. damage control as crime details become public
      Exactly what part of this was planned by the PR dept?

      • As a PR myself, it was well handled under all this mess you just mentioned, and he is a good guy, AN IDIOT, but not a bad person, mistakes we all make, he did handled the bull by the horns, by going public with it, and actually, he seems really sorry!! let's just hope was not a major creep taking advantage of young girls, witch I have heard that was NOT the case….

  5. That explains why it took him so long to get married. Anyway, he's a typical liberal hypocrite, as he has so often gone off about the morality of the Bush admin.

    • WTF?

      • Here's an example:
        "Palin has a slutty stewardess look"

        He also joked about Palin's teenage daughter getting knocked up.

        And he has made a habit of excoriating public figures about their affairs over the years.

        • Letterman has his share of tasteless jokes (you gave two examples), but I don't see the hypocrisy. Can you clarify?

          • Well, it's hypocritical to ridicule others for their affairs, while you are in the midst of one yourself. He's also ridiculing the sexual life of the Palins, while his own sex life is a disgrace. That's the hypocrasy.

          • Thanks for your serious response.

            I do agree with your earlier point that Letterman could / should / would be classified as a liberal; so in general terms I don't believe that Letterman really cares all that much about how people behave when it comes to sexual relations and so on between consenting adults.

            And I also agree that Letterman does get lots of mileage out of ridiculing others, in particular about issues that have a moral aspect.

            I suppose that we will disagree on the point that Letterman is trying to make when he highlights those shortcomings in others.

            If he is essentially saying "Ha ha, look at those Palins and their sexual indiscretions, people really shouldn't behave that way", then he is indeed a hypocrite because he professes beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess.

          • …the rest…

            If, otoh, he is essentially saying "Ha ha, look at those Palins and their sexual indiscretions, people really shouldn't tell others to live up to a high moral standard and then behave that way" he isn't actually hypocritical, he is only pointing out someone elses hypocrisy.

            Wrt Letterman's actual behaviours in this case, my opinion will depend on whether these affairs were essentially consensual or did he use his authority to coerce the relationships. So far, it does have a bit of a creepy feeling about it.

          • Yes, I agree with your statements, there is a grey area there. His show is meant to be humorous, in the end.

            However in recent years it's taken on a political and moralistic tone occasionally, where he ridicules people in a serious manner. He used to stick to comedy, but occasionally less so today. In general, it's hard to tell exactly why he attacks the Palins specifically, but it certainly has gone beyond what is funny. He doesn't elaborate much, he just claims something is stupid, or cracks a bad joke, and then moves on. But I do think that when he calls Palin slutty (or cracks a sex joke about her teenage daughter), he is making a simple statement about her behaviour – if he was instead calling Palin a hypocrate he should say so. The statement on its own is just a plain old insult. Sames goes for some of his other tasteless cracks.

            I agree that his position of authority over these ladies casts a bad light on this situation. Additionally, I think that being in a relationship for 20 some years and having affairs on the side casts him in a bad light (but maybe I'm old fashioned that way, maybe he's a "Sex in the CIty" kind of guy).

          • Yes, I agree with your statements, there is a grey area there. His show is meant to be humorous, in the end.

            However in recent years it's taken on a political and moralistic tone occasionally, where he ridicules people in a serious manner. He used to stick to comedy, but occasionally less so today. In general, it's hard to tell exactly why he attacks the Palins specifically, but it certainly has gone beyond what is funny. He doesn't elaborate much, he just claims something is stupid, or cracks a bad joke, and then moves on. But I do think that when he calls Palin slutty (or cracks a sex joke about her teenage daughter), he is making a simple statement about her behaviour – if he was instead calling Palin a hypocrate he should say so. The statement on its own is just a plain old insult. Sames goes for some of his other tasteless cracks.

          • To be completely honest I stopped watching Letterman on any kind of regular basis years ago. These days I only watch the clips that make it to YouTube or the news or sites like this. Perhaps (hopefully?) my taste in humour has matured over the years and almost undoubtedly Letterman himself is losing some of his original appeal. In any case, I don't find him to be any near as funny as I did 25 years ago.

            I think that Palin has been such a favoured target because she presents more of a contradiction than many other politicians, at least by initial impressions. Obviously she belongs to a conservative party and holds conservative views, but her outward appearance is not as conservative as many other female politicians. Right or wrong, that makes her that easy target.

            Thanks again for your replies.

          • To be completely honest I stopped watching Letterman on any kind of regular basis years ago. These days I only watch the clips that make it to YouTube or the news or sites like this. Perhaps (hopefully?) my taste in humour has matured over the years and almost undoubtedly Letterman himself is losing some of his original appeal. In any case, I don't find him to be anywhere near as funny as I did 25 years ago.

            I think that Palin has been such a favoured target because she presents more of a contradiction than many other politicians, at least by initial impressions. Obviously she belongs to a conservative party and holds conservative views, but her outward appearance is not as conservative as many other female politicians. Right or wrong, that makes her that easy target.

            Thanks again for your replies.

  6. But if Rush Limbaugh said the same or similar things, they'd be jokes, proof that while con/rights call it like they see it and don't mince words in the process, left/libs are hypocrites with no sense of humour. This crap writes itself, with the emphasis on 'crap'.
    His actions are makes Letterman a creep and a hypocrite. There's lots of hypocrites in this world, of all different varieties and political stripes, or are there?

    • Rush is too busy poppin' pills to be mincin' words

  7. its not really that suprising, stats say 60% of men will have extramarital affairs and 40% of women…or perhaps men tell the truth more in surveys

  8. i wonder if he had an affair with larry bud melman