David Letterman's Apologia

Welcome back!
This quick post is motivated by tonight's revelation by Dave Letterman that he had been blackmailed over his "creepy stuff" as he describes it. How did he do? David rolls it out with a combination of humor and 'guilt' over his sexual relationships with a number of women on his staff. From the discovery of a package he finds in his back seat at 6 a.m. to meetings with the would-be screenplay writer/blackmailer, to the handover of a $2 million check to his appearance this morning before the Grand Jury.

How did he do?
Actually he did very well. He reveals the "creepy stuff" was "I had sex with women who worked on this show..would it be embarrassing..yes it would...especially for the women...but that's a decision for them to come forward....I just want to thank the special prosecution bureau, the District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau, I need to protect those women, my family and I don't intend to say anything more about this."

After thanking the audience for their patience he continued on with the show.

Coming out of the commercial he reveals that he had invited questions during the break and told viewers that a guy in the audience had said, "Dave I'd kinda like to see that movie!" Good kicker to the story.

Well, once we were over the shock (although many viewers had been apprised of it in the media and online in advance), I believe most of his fans would instantly forgive him due to his forthrightness. He got ahead of the story and told it without defending it. By characterizing it as 'creepy stuff' he took the sting out of it. all in all, it was crisis management 101. If only Roman Polanski had adopted a similar strategy on an admittedly far more 'creepy' admission than Dave's (see below).


  1. From a PR perspective, good ol' Dave nipped it in the bud by getting out in front with the truth. I'll give him that. But it still strikes me as "creepy" that he was able to couch his infidelities (to say nothing of possible legal ramifications) behind a good yarn, with plenty of pauses for yuks. Dave said he wanted to protect his family. I didn't hear him apologize to them for his "creepy stuff." Maybe we're inclined to forgive him because of his iconic status as the Late Show host, and, yes Virginia, people do make mistakes. But I'm still feeling Dave's treatment of this as a bit of an extended joke. It's not. Stuff like this happens in offices all over the world. People lose their jobs over it. I like Letterman. Always have. But I'm disappointed in this particular punchline. Not funny.

  2. It was good to see Dave approach this openly and honestly. It's pretty much PR 101 to let the news out yourself before everyone else does it for you disparagingly. The guy went through a mid-life crisis. Sad and unfortunate he has to do it before the public eye, but hardly a career breaker. Not like he's Jim Baker or anything!