Saturday, October 3, 2009

Letterman Extortion Focus Ignores His Sexual Misconduct

I know this is apparently the biggest news story of the year, but is it really such the crime against humanity as it's been implied? David Letterman was allegedly approached by the ex-boyfriend of one of his staffers who demanded $2M to keep silent about his past sexual relationship with her. So Letterman "revealed" that he's had sex with numerous women who work for him and that gets swept under the rug. Can you say Fall Guy?
Considering the fact Letterman had briefly mentioned how he almost got "fired" during the Madonna interview a few days ago I think it's very interesting indeed how male privilege and white protectionism kicks in during certain times. Letterman was referring to the Palin incident when he thought he could drag her daughters into his criticism of her and got the smackdown of his life. It has still had a profound effect on him since he obviously thought he could publicly degrade white womanhood but found out otherwise.

What I now find very interesting is how used he is to degrading them in his personal life. Or should I say professional life. No wonder he was surprised. Look what he's been allowed to get away with for the better part of nearly three decades? He has a history of "dating" the women who work for him. What male boss is allowed to troll for dates and girlfriends from his pool of employees without violating some laws?

His current wife is a former staffer in fact. I think there's something in the CBS water because isn't the head of the network married to one of his staffers as well? (Les Moonves and Julie Chen). The fact that Letterman owns his show yet is so intimately involved with staff under employment contracts with the network - owned by Viacom speaks volumes about what guidelines are supposed to be in place to protect women as opposed to what actually goes on.

Whether these women enter into relationships "willingly" isn't the point. Remember when Bill O'Reilly was busted for sexing one of his female producers, had abusive conversations caught on tape and Fox had to make a multi-million dollar payout? It also seems to me there must be some serious employment discrimination going on whereby certain women are hired to begin with. There's the question of diversity - or really the lack of - when the women chosen have similar backgrounds. It's one thing for a savvy woman to position herself to have access to a powerful man. It's something else entirely when part of the unspoken job description involves giving sexual favors and attention to one.

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Chi said...

To be honest, I'm never up late to watch David Letterman, but I'm disgusted by the whole thing, from its treatment by the media as the world's biggest story, to his sorry mea culpa, only because HE GOT CAUGHT.

What I find most disturbing is how many stars are coming out in support of him, sympathizing with him as an extortion victim, but not calling him out on the fact that he dishonored his committment to his now-wife/then-girlfriend-of-over-two-decades/the mother of his son. An article in today (10/6) cited Black celebrities who came out to the premiere of the movie "Good Hair" (Chris Rock, Wendy Williams, "Pepa", Ice-T, Al Roker) who spoke highly of David Letterman. I found it interesting that many of those same people were either the recipient or perpetrator of the hurt resulting from infidelity.

Meanwhile a mere three weeks ago, Kanye West was villainized and has had to go into hiding for what he did to Taylor Swift on an awards show. While I believe Kanye was out of line, I just find it telling how celebrities, both black and white, were quick to take him to task. And now his tour is cancelled. All David Letterman had to do was cop to his sins during his opening monologue one night (and people didn't initially realize he was being serious), and apologize to his wife another night and *POOF* all is forgiven! White male privilege indeed!

I realize that infidelity doesn't have the stigma that it should nowadays. But I don't care how great a talk show host Letterman is. If he can get chewed out for his comments against Bristol Palin several months ago, I don't think he should be above reproach for his workplace sexual harrassment.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Chi: I honestly want to say who cares what these celebrities who showed up for the premiere have to say. They're not living with the man. Letterman's wife was his "wifey" for nearly 20 years. He FINALLY gave her the ring. I'm sure she is hurt but since they met while she worked on his show are we supposed to believe that she had NO CLUE what he was doing? GTFOH. He's paying the law school tuition of the other woman.

I have to say what Kanye did is completely different and really has nothing to do with this conversation. It's apples and oranges and I'm not going into protect mode for West. He doesn't value or appreciate black women who look like his mother so he's not exactly a paragon of virtue or black women uplift.

Letterman is no different from many men: they do what they can get away with. He's generally well-liked otherwise we would have known about his activities a long time ago.