By now you’ve probably heard: David Letterman’s been the victim of a blackmail attempt to extort $ 2 million to keep quiet about sexual affairs he had with female staffers. Instead, Letterman chose to go on the air and, well, air his dirty laundry before the blackmailer could.
Watch a clip here:
Amazingly, his audience seemed to laugh along with him, even cheer at times, though perhaps they simply didn’t know what to make of what he was telling them.
Personally, I always thought the guy was a bit of a lech and a creep, and I haven’t found his show funny since back in the days when he used to dress up in Velcro suits and fling himself at Velcro walls. There’s always been something derogatory in the way he leers at women, the way he speaks of his wife (and of avoiding marriage as long as he could), and I feel sorry for her being dragged through the mud along with these other women who will now surely also find themselves in the spotlight.
I’m not suggesting he ought to have paid the blackmail to keep his ‘creepy’ misdeeds quiet–blackmail is no better than infidelity–but I am saying, I think the guy ought to have considered his public position, his wife’s feelings, and the staffers as well before his own desires. Why did he have to go public about this? I suppose news of the arrest would have hit the news at some point, and Letterman was hoping to get out ahead of it. Still, I hope this decision to defuse the blackmailer’s threats publicly was made in consultation with his family as well as the women with whom he had the affairs (it’s not clear when he slept with them, whether before or after he finally married his girlfriend of 2 decades, Regina Lasko, though I’m not sure that would ameliorate any moral ugliness here).
Will the network keep him on? Almost certainly–he’s suddenly kicking Leno’s ass. Will you keep watching? I won’t… but then, I found him unfunny before. Now I just find him unsavory as well.