An Open Letter to David Letterman

Oct 6, 2009

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.

20 Comments

  1. Interesting point of view… I have to admit that I admired Daivd Letterman but I’d also have to say that I thought that he was a man of strong character and integrity. I was surprised by the apology… but it was a work of art in the manner that it diffused the whole situation. Men like Letterman and all the other men that you mentioned don’t really feel a need (morally) to apologize, they have become intoxicated by their power, fame and wealth. They feel that they are above the law and an apology like the one that Letterman offered was only to gain an advantage over the people and powers that could make his life a uncomfortanble (such as his wife and CBS).
    To expect more from him and other men like him is to expect too much.
    I’m sure that he would be proud of the fact that you have named him with men such as Bill Clinton (perhaps not Elliot Spitzer and Mr. Appalachian Trail South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford).
    Regading the women… let’s face it, no one really cares about the Ms. Lewinskys and if fact, many blame those women for the indescretion.
    I certainly don’t think Letterman cares about the women who work on his show nor can I imagine that he believes that matrimony is “holy.”
    What makes this “event” more disturbing is that Americans (in our very sick way) live vicariously through entertainers and athletes and actually look to these “stars” as role models!
    Letterman won’t loose his $30 million salary or his contract – CBS is getting some great mileage from this “event.”
    I can only say that I still respect him as an emntertainer but I have certainly lost my respect for him as a man.

  2. Interesting point of view… I have to admit that I admired Daivd Letterman but I’d also have to say that I thought that he was a man of strong character and integrity. I was surprised by the apology… but it was a work of art in the manner that it diffused the whole situation. Men like Letterman and all the other men that you mentioned don’t really feel a need (morally) to apologize, they have become intoxicated by their power, fame and wealth. They feel that they are above the law and an apology like the one that Letterman offered was only to gain an advantage over the people and powers that could make his life a uncomfortanble (such as his wife and CBS).
    To expect more from him and other men like him is to expect too much.
    I’m sure that he would be proud of the fact that you have named him with men such as Bill Clinton (perhaps not Elliot Spitzer and Mr. Appalachian Trail South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford).
    Regading the women… let’s face it, no one really cares about the Ms. Lewinskys and if fact, many blame those women for the indescretion.
    I certainly don’t think Letterman cares about the women who work on his show nor can I imagine that he believes that matrimony is “holy.”
    What makes this “event” more disturbing is that Americans (in our very sick way) live vicariously through entertainers and athletes and actually look to these “stars” as role models!
    Letterman won’t loose his $30 million salary or his contract – CBS is getting some great mileage from this “event.”
    I can only say that I still respect him as an emntertainer but I have certainly lost my respect for him as a man.

  3. I love Dave for his intelligent sardonic humor.
    But,I also feel very hurt for Regina his wife. But he has done what so many rich powerful men have done. He just got called out on it. He
    never claimed to be a moral beacon. So I think he should get some
    slack. He is the guy who got the speeding ticket cause he was the slowest speeder.
    I think we as women also need to learn to say “NO”
    Stop being sucked in by these men and think about
    the other woman you are also hurting. If I was his intern I would have done him. Geeze. He is David Letterman. An icon !
    These were consentual and these young women
    thought “just maybe I will be the one”. Hey Regina
    must have as well!!!
    Dont be so hard on old Dave. Society and
    culture have made him. I will always be his fan.
    What he does with his private
    parts is private. I hope his family stays in tack and
    he has a new perspective. He has my support!! Hang
    in Dave. Some of us got your back

  4. Dave calls his behavior “creepy”
    Bingo. No matter how you spin it, a creep is a creep is a creep.

  5. Let’s not forget that plenty of not-rich, not-famous men also find themselves embroiled in extra-marital relationships. While they may not face multi-million dollar repercussions, the damage to their marriages – and to themselves – is just as devastating.
    There’s a reason it’s called a “primary relationship” (you know, the one you have with your spouse) – because it’s supposed to come first! Dave obviously didn’t have that opinion previously. For his wife’s sake, I hope he has it now.
    Infidelity doesn’t happen in a vacuum so I am not going to sit in judgment on David Letterman. But I hope his situation – and his relatively open public handling of it – will speak to other men who might think “It’s just a fling and won’t hurt anybody…” to think again. It will hurt you, it will hurt your wife, and it will hurt the “other woman.” Nobody gains, aside from those brief shining moments of comfort and pleasure. Which are not worth the fallout.

  6. jeez, what crawled up her ass?

  7. Why is there so little focus on the sexual harrassment aspect of these sorry affairs? It’s reprehensible enough to cheat on a significant other; the decision to do it (repeatedly) with one’s employees is grounds for immediate termination in most organizations. Each of these women was dependent on the cheater’s good will to keep their jobs and/or advance within the organization. here we have a superior using his power to coerce sexual favors from his subordinates.
    Beyond the extortion & cheating aspects, this is the most deplorable aspect of the case, yet it’s receiving scant attention.

  8. I think you’ve had your rose-tinted glasses on a bit too long, Hilary.
    Personally, I found Dave’s national confession a yawn, and it sounded precisely like he was following the advice of some attorney, spinning the public record for his eventual benefit at trial – or posturing to increase his leverage at a civil trial for damages…The fact is, Dave’s a comic, and the monologue wasn’t funny. It was irritating; I prefer my comedians to be, well funny, or why tune in? But the great unwashed out there in TV Land apparently can’t get enough of the “Gee I screwed up so let me tell you all about it” school of TV mea culpas – ensuring there’ll be lots more to follow.
    Which is why I prefer Netflix to trolling thru the ever-less entertaining fare I get on TV.

  9. David Letterman does not owe “Hillary” anything — and certainly not an apology.
    The only persons to whom he owes an apology are his WIFE and their immediate family, and it seems he has given those apologies, and begun to TRY to regain their trust.
    David is an entertainer who comes into our homes to make us laugh. That’s the only contract we have with him. Whatever else any viewer may have invested in his/her “relationship” with David is his/her own issue to deal with.

  10. Wow, Hillary (don’t you love when writers use the first name of their subject to emphasize their point….) you seem angry. Love your comment that odds show that most women stay with their rich, powerful husbands who cheat on them…. where did you find these stats?! How do you know that Dave and wife (who wasn’t his wife when he was having these affairs) didn’t have open relationship at the time of these affairs? Hillary, did you think of showing some respect for the women he did have relationships with – until we find out something like Dave tied them up and forced sex on them, I am making the assumption that they were interested in having a relationship with him. Hillary, you can take the easy explanation for their actions that Dave was powerful, and he used that as an aphrodisiac to lure them into the sac, or you can give these women respect (and human beings), and know they are likely intelligent people who had their own reasons for sleeping with Dave, maybe because they actually liked him as a human being… Hillary, these things are extremely complicated and need to be reviewed from all angles, though it just seemed you were very lazy here with stating common generalities – like you plucked them from a Romance Novel- without any regard for what makes humans tick – really Hillary, I expected so much more substance from a professional with a substantial resume like yours.

  11. So we’re all agreed that women throw themselves at men in high position, but it is wrong or at least distasteful for these guys to become involved with their subordinates even if it is consensual.
    So how about a little cooperation between these guys. Suppose they all enter into a pool. That way Craig Ferguson, the next time one of his underlings makes herself available (which must happen alla the time), can just send her over to David Letterman. And Letterman, busy canoodling with Ferguson’s staff member, can send Stephanie Birkitt over to, say, Arsenio Hall.
    Wait a minute. Arsenio’s not on the air anymore. Well, you get the drift. Make it Jimmy Kimmel and that way Sara Silverman gets some new material too.
    Sounds silly. But it actually makes a lot of sense once you realize that the people involved are pretty much interchangeable. The guys are catches only because they are powerful, and the women are attractive only because they are young.
    And let’s not shed too many crocodile tears for the poor jilted wife at home. It has been my observation that the women who marry these alpha dog types, especially the politicians, know exactly what they are getting into. In fact that is often precisely what they find attractive about the guys in the first place.
    Of course we wouldn’t be in this situation if Letterman had an affair with one of the many ballsy, hot dames around his own age with intelligence to rival his. Now that would be interesting news, and much more to his credit than bedding this kid-sister type. But no, it was not to be. See above.

  12. Far be for me to defend David Letterman, whseo humor is not my cup of tea, but this is one of the biggest loads of psuedo-intellectual BS I have a read lately.
    David has only one obligation to his viewers, and an apology is not it.
    When one of his fans criticized him for what the fan perceived as a flaw, Bob Dylan reputedly said, “Just because you like my stuff doesn’t mean I owe you anything.”
    The same goes for Dave. His private life is not your concern. If it turns out that there issues of sexual harassment, then that will come out, but that is a separate issue.
    Before anyone says turnabout is fair and tries to compare Dave’s life to those of the politicians he and other comics have skewered for their picadillos, Dave hasn’t made himself out to be a paragon of virtue like every politician does… even after they’re caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

  13. People who are powerful believe they can get away with most anything and what good is the power if they can’t? Let a “pretty thing” lean over with no bra and they get the signal that it’s okay to proceed. It is difficult NOT to proceed Soooo they proceed never thinking about the consequences. Pity!

  14. Dear Mr. Letterman, I have thought you a pompous jerk, for years. Your insincere apology is evidence that my opinion was correct.
    Your affairs and infidelities are NOT in your wife’s past. They are her ever present pain of betrayal. You joined a covenant before God and with her. And you well know your responsibilities, and the consequences of your breaking covenant and that you must continue to uphold covenant.
    God’s love is not conditional, He requires much from us in order to receive His blessings. (Do this and I will………). Marriage is the same, it has conditions.
    You need to establish appropriate boundaries by having No Contact, forever and ever, Amen, with any of your flirting, texting, emailing, flirting and adultery partners.
    You need to find out why you sabotaged your marriage covenant.
    I will never watch your program, again, unless I learn you have made a sincere and contrite confession complete with action items taken to stop your behavior.
    CBS may think this is great and their ratings will go up. Personally, I think you should be fired on the spot if you violated a moral clause.
    Your infidelity is not in the past, but I hope you are in the viewers’ past.

  15. How can you feel betrayed when you weren’t even a fan? Those of us who always liked Dave will always like Dave. Those of you who don’t, won’t. It has nothing to do with his personal life and everything to do with your sense of humor. When you don’t have one, like “betrayed” apparently does not, you’re just plain SOL.

  16. I could care less who David Letterman has sex with. And I’m assuming that the women who went to bed with him did so knowingly and with their consent. Who knows, maybe they actually found him charming and sexy. And took advantage of a situation they found themselves in. It even occurs to me that they may have used him, as much as, if not more than he may have used them. The only person who should care is his wife, who was not his wife at the time. To me, this is a whole lotta whoha about a whole lotta nothing!

  17. I’m sorry to see that Hilary Atkins holds such a low opinion of women that she automatically assumes that every one of these women was a “victim.” Consensual relationships in the workplace are not always “sexual harrassment.” Please consult your lawyers before you make accusations.
    Dave had an affair (along with, apparently, 50% of all married men) while he was still single. You have no idea what his relationship with his future wife was at the time – and it’s none of your business. He certainly owes no one an apology other than those directly involved whose trust he may have violated. Regardless, this does not excuse the behavior of the alleged extortionist.
    Finally, if your so upset by all this, perhaps you should examine your own lack of self esteem for vesting so much emotion in a TV personality that you don’t know, have never met, really know nothing about and doesn’t know you exist. Assuming your not a thirteen year old girl, such a crush is more your problem than Dave’s.

  18. BRAGG ??? HILARY PLEASE !!!
    DAVID DIDN’T HAVE SEX WITH ANISTON , BEYONCE , ALL HE DID WAS HAVE SEX WITH THE OFFICE HELP AND THE WOMEN IN THE OFFICE NEVER COMPLAINED BECAUSE WHEN A WOMAN HAS SEX WITH THE BOSS AND SHE WASN’T FORCED OR OBLIGATED THEY FEEL THAT THEY ARE IN LINE FOR A PROMOTION !
    WHY ARE AMERICANS SO HIPOCRITICAL AND YET ALMOST ALL WOMEN HAVE A SEXUAL CLOSET FULL OF SECRETS .
    I THINK DAVE GOT SOME “NOOKIE” BECAUSE OF HIS CHARM AND KARISMA PLAIN AND SIMPLE.
    YOUR ARTICAL SOUNDS LIKE HE GOT YOU IN THE “SACK AND NOW YOU REGRET IT !

  19. HONEY YOU PUT IT OUT THERE AND SOME GUY WILL TAKE IT !!

  20. Where is your open letter to Tiger Woods?

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