So, here they are: David Letterman's remarks on how he had "creepy" sex with an indeterminate amount of female staffers and was then extorted. Considering Letterman has long used affairs as punchlines, should we run him out of town?
During his tenure at the Late Show, Letterman's made mad bank on using public figures and their public disgraces as his "comedic" inspiration. There could be a book of his Clinton-inspired knee-slappers, like this one, "No move ever goes smoothly. Today Clinton's brand new desk arrived. He had to send it back, apparently not enough head room." Oh, ha! Monica Lewinsky blew Clinton while he was president. And now we learn that Letterman banged his lady underlings.
Letterman's admission makes us — and Howard Kurtz, sort of — wonder whether Letterman, who also admitted he'll do anything to protect his job, should be shamed as he's shamed others.
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. But perhaps we should give him some wiggle room here.
Although we're not in awe of how he handled this, we're surprisingly impressed by the amount of self-skewering he mustered while discussing the potential for embarrassment. That impression, however, was rapidly shattered when he revealed his "true" intentions: protect these women — oh, and his family, self and, again, his job.
The entire thing came off as more of a relatively humorous, if not laudatory, apology than a phony, manufactured plea for forgiveness. But isn't the former better than the latter, especially since he's been calling the kettle black this whole time? The audience certainly thinks so: they clapped and laughed and lapped up the entire bit.
Will the public — and, most importantly, CBS — do the same?