Friday, October 2, 2009

David Letterman: Why I Don't Care About His Affair

Judging from the media coverage, it looks like David Letterman had an affair with Stephanie Birkitt, a young woman who is well known to anyone who's seen the show in the past several years. She started out as an intern at "Late Show," then moved on to become an associate producer at "48 Hours," where alleged extortionist Robert Joe Halderman still worked until his suspension by CBS yesterday. Birkitt returned to "Late Show" and became a popular on-air personality, known for her phone calls with Dave, appearances during viewer participation segments, and remotes from the Winter Olympic Games.

Some viewers are angry that Dave might have cheated on Regina Lasko, his partner of 20+ years. But here's why I'm not feeling the outrage -- we don't know what went on in Letterman and Lasko's relationship. Both of them are extremely private people. They may have chosen to not be exclusive or monogamous. Plus, it's not like Dave was extolling "family values," like John Edwards or Gov. Mark Sanford. Sure, he made jokes about those men, but he never held himself up as a paragon of moral virtue. Quite the contrary. This is someone who called himself "the last of the real gunslingers" for managing to avoid marrying Lasko for so long, and has admitted that he "behaved badly" during his first marriage to Michelle Cook.

The only thing that would raise my ire would be if Letterman had somehow used his position as Birkitt's boss to threaten her into having a sexual relationship with him. Granted, some people may feel that any workplace relationship between a boss and an underling is inappropriate, as the balance of power is skewed. Some companies have rules in place to forbid such relationships. We can probably assume that no such stricture existed at Worldwide Pants. I'm willing to give Letterman the benefit of the doubt that the relationship was consensual.

Dave is a man who inspires fierce loyalty among his staffers -- look at the amazing number of people who have been with him since virtually the beginning of his TV talk show career, from Biff Henderson to Jude Brennan and Barbara Gaines. Letterman is obviously a complex, difficult, prickly person, but all evidence indicates that he's also a straight-up guy. It's interesting to note that the person threatening Dave with extortion was not Birkitt, but her ex-boyfriend. Stephanie herself is still working at "Late Show" -- and, according to RadarOnline.com, is "mortified" that Halderman would try to use her affair with Letterman as blackmail fodder.

11 comments :

  1. Judd said...

    I don't care either, Talk Show News. Dave's job is to make me laugh while avoiding sleep. Who he has sex with is none of my business.

  2. oolybug said...

    I have watched dave every nite since Johnny and the minute I saw this skank 4 the 2nd time I knew what the deal was. 2 obvious. I thought he was smarter than that.I'm dealing with the same crap and it sux, I feel 4 his son!!!! My kids didn't deserve it n niether does he. When we have kids our mistakes become life altering, VERY SAD!!!!!! jULIE

  3. varla said...

    I agree with everything you posted, Talk Show News. Dave has always been very protective of his private life. Unless there is evidence that any of these relationships were non-consensual, then two unmarried people having relations shouldn't be such a clutch-the-pearls moment.

  4. Justin said...

    Thank you so much Sue. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. Let's hope this whole thing blows over fast. I'm already sick of hearing about it.

    By the way, if you have a Facebook account, show Dave you love him:http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=11022&post=49709&uid=47326583374

  5. constant gina said...

    How are you going to walk into a bank and expect to cash a 2 million dollar check?? bad move, idiot deserved to get caught.

  6. Anonymous said...

    I agree with what you've written. I'd just like to add that Dave admitted to having sex with women who worked with him (so Stephanie wasn't the only one) and I'm more concerned than you seem to be by the possibility that Dave crossed the line into sexual harassment with somebody at some point. (I won't condemn him as a predatory boss or one who showed favoritism to his sexual partners solely on the basis of this revelation, though.)

  7. Alam said...

    We dont know the details of these affairs at all yet, and saying he was a "predatory boss" is uncalled for at this moment. It seems (from what little we know about this) that the relationships were purely consensual and Stephanie herself has said Dave was the best boss she ever had, and I dont think she was saying that just for fear of being fired.

    Like Talk Show News said, people in Dave's staff are fiercely loyal and they love their boss, and if Dave had somehow coerced Stephanie through his power over her, into the affair, then Stephanie would have been out of there as soon as she could. The fact that she STILL works at the show speaks volumes.

    You could see Stephanies love and admiration for Dave in her eyes when she looked at him all those times she appeared on the show. They did seem to share a closer connection than the cameras showed, but I never thought it was THAT close until I heard these news.

    @oolybug: the affairs apparently stopped before Dave and Regina had Harry, so that shows he did think about how his actions could affect his family. The fact that this has come to light and its all a huge mess, was out of Daves control, as Im sure he never expected all this to come bite him in the ass via a fuckin scumbag trying to blackmail him. But yeah, in the future (and maybe even as we speak), Harry will feel the impact of these news for sure.

    Santiago

  8. Justin said...

    This is the best article written about the David Letterman extortion story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glynnis-macnicol/the-misleading-coverage-o_b_309220.html

    I strongly urge all Dave fans to read it & pass it on to their friends.

  9. Jan said...

    Thanks, Justin. This is an even better article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-shure/the-hypocrisy-of-david-le_b_309796.html

  10. Anonymous said...

    Did anyone notice that he has been removed from the lineup on the Late Night TV Page?
    It's a pretty glaring omission.

  11. Talk Show News said...

    That who has been removed from the Late Night TV Page? Certainly not David Letterman. He'll always be there, in the #1 position.