Baseball91's Weblog

October 2, 2009

48 Hours

Letterman Hush money.

The Telegraph had the news of David Letterman’s revelation that he had sexual relationships with female employees of his show. Letterman said after his monologue last night on the air that he had received a demand by an alleged extortionist, according to CBS an employee of “48 Hours,” to either pay $2 million or risk his relationships being made public.

Letterman’s own production company according to the Los Angeles Times, does have a sexual harassment policy in place which does not prohibit sexual relationships between managers and employees, said a spokesman for Worldwide Pants.

After making a living off as a comic over Monica Lewinsky and Eliot Spitzer jokes, Letterman put the spin that the real story was about extortion, and the “threat” to him over his “creepy behavior.” According to Nick Allen of the The, during the CBS “Late Show with David Letterman,” Letterman revealed earlier that day he appeared before a grand jury about an alleged extortion attempt connected to his sexual liasons with women who worked for him which would clearly involve issues of sexual harassment in his admitted “creepy stuff…relationships.”

The Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, with a perceived timing orchestrated by Worldwide Pants, held a press conference within 14 hours to announce the specifics, revealing charges brought against CBS News producer Robert “Joe” Halderman.

Worldwide Pants. Caught without their pants on. “We have a written policy in our employee manual that covers harassment. It is circulated to every employee every year. Dave is not in violation of our policy and no one has ever raised a complaint against him.” So said the statement. Letterman’s own production company. Letterman did not believe in sexual harassment? He was an agnostic when it came to sexual harassment? What about the people who did not get the promotions that his staffers got in the Worldwide Pants world?

Thursday CBS said the “48 Hours” employee charged with attempted grand larceny was suspended from his job. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in a press conference revealed the charges against CBS News producer Robert “Joe”Halderman. Mr. Halderman has not gotten the same public forum to address the world that Letterman was given about his alleged wrong doing. There also was no word on how CBS was dealing with the issues of sexual harassment, if corporate policy was violated. What a time for those human resource staffers. Apparently CBS feels extortion from an entertainment star was a worse offense than sexual harassment of female staffers, or the collateral damage of sexual harassment.

Fox News New York has reported that according to a search warrant, Robert “Joe” Halderman’s girlfriend Stephanie Birkitt was one of the women that Letterman slept with. According to Fox News New York, Ms. Birkitt is Letterman’s former assistant. Fox News New York has reported that the search warrant states the package Halderman sent Letterman contained copies of parts of Stephanie Birkitt’s diary and correspondence.

Entertainment Tonight showed later featured appearances of Stephanie Birkitt over the years on “Late Show with David Letterman” from venues like the Winter Olympics.

Letterman was quoted on his show as saying: “I was worried for myself. I was worried for my family. I felt menaced by this. And I had to tell them all of the creepy things that I had done.

According to Nick Allen of the The, “The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show.”

Letterman described how three weeks ago he had got in his car early in the morning, found a letter within a package saying: “I know that you do some terrible, terrible things and that I can prove you do some terrible things.” The package contained the proof, Letterman said. He called his lawyer to set up a meeting with the alleged extortionist, with two subsequent meetings, the last one resulting in the delivery of the fake check. Robert “Joe” Halderman allegedly had threatened to write a screenplay and a book about him unless Halderman was given money.

According to Nick Allen, Letterman admitted on Late Night Show Thursday night to having “had sex with women who work with me on this show. My response to that is yes, I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Yes, it would. Especially for the women.”

According to Nick Allen of the The, after telling all to his audience Letterman lightened the mood. “I know what you’re saying. I’ll be darned – Dave had sex.”

So it was about hush money? The bizarre experience? The audience had scattered laughter throughout the confession.

Yeah. On with the show.

“It’s been a very bizarre experience. I felt like I needed to protect these people. I need to protect my family. I need to protect myself. Hope to protect my job.”

The bizarre experience! For the audience. An inappropriate place to make the revelation, by a host with an inappropriate sensibility about himself. A repeat offender. Someone who had to be making overtures. But on with the show. Before we gave it all too much thought. One-liners.

It might be a while before the president is going to be booking an appearance again.

Maybe Bill Clinton will show up next week to offer some support. Or guest Host Elliot Spitzer? What a time for those staffers trying to line up guests for next week.

The age of television. Performance enhancement egos and salaries. As people get bigger than the game, over time.

November 15, 2014 Post Script:
dateline NEW YORK – Bill Cosby’s upcoming appearance on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” has been canceled amid a growing uproar over allegations that he sexually assaulted several women in past decades.

I originally thought that even five years later, Bill Cosby was showing the high road, refusing to appear with David Letterman over the clear violations of sexual harassment at the Letterman-owned World-Wide Pants Production Company. It had been on Mother’s Day ten years ago that I heard Bill Cosby calling for African-American men to marry the women that they impregnated and to become involved in the lives of their children. With the unusual increase in readership in the past few days of this blog posting, it is worth remembering that the Telegraph story first mentioned that Letterman’s revelation was that he had sexual relationships with female employees — plural — of his show. And what is common in both long-time shows is that the stars had successful production companies, to keep control of their worlds — as Bill Cosby came to own 33 percent of Carsey-Werner Productions, the vanguard independent production company which resisted affiliation with a major network or distributor that continues to hold the rights to the brand name of the show still in world-wide syndication. In the era of free agents, as those show business stars get bigger than the game, in this era of Vigara sponsorship of prime time television, in the era of net neutrality, those production companies have a way of controlling the spotlight; the spotlight however is not on the aging host of late night television but on an older star. Somehow in old age, Cosby has not been able to side-step the criticism of the media that David Letterman had been so apt to do, with the help of the Manhattan District Attorney, on issues not much different than sex trafficking in any form, or in allegations made and proven against Thomas Jefferson.

The ‘reserve clause’ was still around in the new system like at Carsey-Werner. Belief that is spread by behavior. As your belief that you owned your employees was replaced in a world with lost belief, with no “reserve.”

Ironically, this had all started as Cosby solicited from the public their memes. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, like the one described “in order to form a more perfect union.” According to Wikipedia, a meme “becomes a behavior that spreads from person to person within a culture.”



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