Open Mic

An Open Letter to David Letterman

Hillary Atkin Posted October 6, 2009 at 5:34 PM

Dear Dave,

As a female viewer of your show and an admirer of your comedic talents, yes, you owe me an apology and yes, you gave me—and all your viewers, your staff and most importantly, your wife—one on the air Monday night.

But Dave, I expected so much more from you. I consider you highly intelligent—if a bit curmudgeonly, extremely cynical and the type who definitely holds a grudge—but you seem to think my IQ level is in the low double digits. How else to explain that you "had no idea.” that the "women" (hmmm, how many is that?) that you bragged, yes, bragged, that you had sex with would not come under intense scrutiny?

You, yourself, in a successful attempt at humor, called out some famous philanderers that have provided you (and every other comic) with tons of material: Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer and Mr. Appalachian Trail South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

Let's think back for a moment. No, no one wondered what Monica Lewinsky looked like, much less of what she had to say, right? I vaguely recall a HUGELY rated Barbara Walters special that starred Ms. Lewinsky in all of her post-presidential, post-intern glory. Ring a bell?

Ashley Dupree? Was that her name? Whatever. No, no one was really interested in the Governor of New York's interstate booty call. While she didn’t have a long shelf life, you must have a really short memory, Dave, being up on the news and newsmakers as you have to be to get fodder for your show every night.

So, you just couldn't imagine that these women who worked on your show and slept with you might be violated by your actions. Much less your wife, who was before your holy matrimony and as the mother of your child, your ultra-longtime girlfriend—whom you cheated on.

Let's go back to your original announcement of this scandal that—I'm sorry, Dave—is really not going away anytime soon. It's just too juicy of a story. You're an older, powerful, very rich, successful, now-married man and father of a young child who was sleeping with young women in your employ. People are interested.

You masterfully told a story in which you deflected nearly the entire focus onto your blackmailer without taking any responsibility for your actions whatsoever—much less issuing any sort of apology. Again, you bragged about having sex with the women, in an arrogant way, actually, like it was your right. And then capping it off by saying that you weren't going to say anything more. Period, end of story.

My, how quickly that changed. Let’s not even mention your $30 million salary and/or when your contract is up, or all the ad revenue you bring to CBS. Yes, Dave, you are a very valuable personage. And although you, most of your viewers, me, and most of the people reading this would most likely be classified as liberal, America is still a Puritanical country and it flies in the face of most people’s values to boast about your extra-curricular sexual escapades when you’re in a committed relationship. Recent case in point: that goofball California legislator who told sex stories over an open mike. Most people still don’t cotton to it. And that guy had to give up his job. I’m sorry, Dave. That’s just the way it is in these United States.

Dave, I'm not minimizing how scary it must have been to find that threatening packet in your car, with what, the former fling’s diary, some steamy e-mails, some photos? But maybe you're also pretty scary to the women who work for you. Even if they're secretly thrilled at your attentions, physically and otherwise.

You said in reference to hurting your wife that you have your work cut out for you in saving your marriage. And that is certainly true. But I'd say you have a pretty good chance of keeping her, since the odds show that most women stay with their rich, powerful husbands who cheat on them. Think Mrs. Clinton. Think Mrs. Spitzer. Think that new CBS show with Chris Noth and Julianna Margulies.

But maybe you can start a new chapter and your Midwestern guilt will actually kick in. Maybe you can keep your Worldwide Pants zipped at the office. Just because your production company doesn't have a clause stating that it's not cool to have sex with subordinates … well, Dave, it's really just not kosher.

But if it ever comes out that Jon Stewart is cheating on his wife and sleeping with his staff — I’ll absolutely have a heart attack.