David Letterman: ‘I had sex.’ Laughter! Applause!
I’m having a very mixed reaction to this whole David Letterman thing.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s his 10-minute confession on his show last night. The part I have a problem with is the audience reaction. Now watch carefully. At minute 8, he finally gets to the allegation made by his blackmailer, and his own response: “I have had sex with women who work on this show. My response is, yes, I have.”
Audience reaction: laughter. Applause.
Hold on a mo. This guy’s married. With a small child. (See a photo of the family here.) He’s admitting to committing adultery with women who work for him. This is funny? This is applaudable?
I don’t buy into the charge on blogs like Gawker that Letterman is somehow as accountable for his transgressions as, say, President Clinton.
He’s a famous, rich and, to some, charming man — the fact that he screwed staffers should raise serious ethical questions, like “Did he use his power and influence to take advantage of the women?” Even if he didn’t do so intentionally, it’s certainly possible that’s the case and he’s just as guilty as those he’s lampooned.
I don’t know; he’s not an elected public official. He’s an entertainer. There’s a bar full of old-time stars somewhere in Hollywood right now laughing at all the fuss. But that doesn’t mean we need to join in.
No one deserves an extortion attempt. We don’t need to punish Letterman for his extramarital affairs. But we don’t need to reward him, either.
(Final two yen: of all the ways to get a screenplay read, how about leaving your treatment in the back of a late-night talk show host’s car stapled to an extortion note? Huh? I mean, that’s creative!)