Entertainment behind the scenes
No one wins in David Letterman blackmail arrest
The married “Late Show” host’s revelation that he had sex with female staff members from his show, and that he worked with authorities to have an alleged blackmail culprit arrested, places Letterman in the odd position of having apparently vanquished a social parasite, but at the same time having his dirty laundry uncovered in the process.
Certainly, the audience was on his side during Letterman’s 10-minute exposition of what he first described as a “little story” he wanted to tell them. The audience clapped and laughed at even the most awkward moments of his tale, such as when he admitted to, as he put it, the “creepy” detail from his life at the heart of the alleged extortion plot, namely that he had sex with women who work on his show.
At one point, an apparently befuddled Letterman said, ”Now why is that funny?”
The question is whether Letterman’s television audience is also inclined to laugh off the whole affair. It seems no one can win in this whole debacle, not Letterman, not his family and not the women who were involved with him.
Certainly, Letterman himself seemed chastened by the whole thing, saying that he was motivated to protect his family and also his job.
“48 Hours” producer Robert Halderman has been arrested in the alleged extortion plot. (Read about that here). Celebrity news website TMZ reports that Halderman was forced to pay about $6,000 a month in child support back in 2007, in what will surely be picked apart as a possible motive for his alleged $2 million extortion scheme.
But does Halderman’s arrest take Letterman off the hook for something that he now appears embarrassed by? News website Gawker reports that Letterman paid for the law school bills of the female assistant whom he reportedly had a sexual liaison with, and that he had a habit of giving lavish Valentine’s Day gifts to all the women in his office.
Amid all this hubbub, what does Conan O’Brien have to say? Will O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” overtake Letterman in the ratings if Dave’s fans turn their back on him? If so, it would come as the “Late Show” host finally crawled his way to the top of the ratings heap after many years of playing underdog to the “Tonight Show.”
See the video of Letterman explaining the whole story below.