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Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Birkitt’

Former Letterman Writer Reveals Late Night’s Dirty Secret: No Women Writers

late show.jpgToday’s Vanity Fair article by former “Late Night with David Letterman” writer Nell Scovell starts out with some pretty pitiful statistics:

“At this moment, there are more females serving on the United States Supreme Court than there are writing for “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Jay Leno Show,” and “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” combined. Out of the 50 or so comedy writers working on these programs, exactly zero are women. It would be funny if it weren’t true.”

Scovell is not shy about equating this dearth of the fairer sex to the scandal that erupted earlier this month that revealed Letterman’s proclivity for hooking up with female staffers. But what’s unique about her perspective is that it’s one that has been lacking from the whole Letterman debacle: the view of a woman on the inside. While we may not yet have heard the story from Letterman’s former assistant and reported lover Stephanie Birkitt (we’re waiting for exclusive primetime interview with her for sure) or any of the other women Letterman is said to have bedded, we at least have Scovell’s take:

“Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that it was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. Did that create a hostile work environment? Yes. Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no.”

Would more women on writing staffs have curbed Letterman’s actions? Maybe, maybe not. But Scovell does make a case for including more women on the writing teams, and offers some good ways to do it, too. Now head writers and producers: what are you going to do about it?

Letterman and MeVanity Fair

Related: CBS Tries To Remove Unauthorized Videos Of Letterman’s Extortion Explanation

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CBS Tries To Remove Unauthorized Videos Of Letterman’s Extortion Explanation

letterman.jpgThe New York Times reported last night that CBS had worked over the weekend to scrub the Internet of any unauthorized videos of David Letterman‘s revelation of extortion on his show Thursday:

“Copies of the segment were uploaded almost immediately to YouTube by users, but many of them were flagged by CBS for removal, citing copyright claims. The network did not provide an official copy.”

That’s funny, because a clip of the segment that we included in our post on Friday seems pretty official looking, and it’s still watchable — even though its only three minutes or so of the entire 10 minute segment. Will CBS officials pull access to this clip, too? Either way, it’s clear that it’s still pretty easy to find clips on YouTube.

The Times also said that CBS is being “more lenient” with YouTube clips of Letterman’s show that feature the host’s former assistant Stephanie Birkitt, who is said to be among the staffers Letterman had sex with and who also had a relationship with the man who tried to extort him, “48 Hours” producer Robert Halderman.

This latest move by CBS is most likely just part of the first wave of stories to come out of this bizarre case as it unfolds. Letterman revealed Halderman’s extortion plot on his show Thursday, in a confession that alternatively drew laughter, cheers and silence from his audience. In our post on Friday, we applauded Letterman for his candidness but said we thought he could have chosen a different venue in which to reveal the scandal. However, after talking to others within the industry and reading reviews and comments about the incident across the Internet, we agree with one commenter on our last post that it was “Classy, forthcoming and honest. Well-handled.”

Letterman is known to mix uncomfortable honesty with his own brand of self-deprecating humor, and he has collected a devoted audience that tunes in every night to hear the host’s thoughts on current events and pop culture, with some of Letterman’s own life filtered in. Turns out, this was actually the ideal platform for him to talk about such a heavy topic. But as more revelations come to light, we’ll doubt he’ll mention it again, choosing instead to go on with the show as usual.

Update: Our colleagues at WebNewser take a look at some of the David Letterman clips that are still available on the Internet.

CBS Removes David Letterman’s Mea Culpa From YouTubeNew York Times

Earlier: Letterman Reveals Extortion Plot, Reveals Sexual Relationships With Staffers

Letterman Reveals Extortion Plot, Admits Sexual Relationships With Staffers

Watch CBS News Videos Online

There were some awkward moments on the “Late Show” last night as host David Letterman revealed that he had testified before a grand jury about an alleged $2 million extortion attempt.

The audience laughed as he revealed the extortionist — later revealed by TMZ to be “48 Hours” producer Robert Halderman, who has since been suspended by CBS — has tried to reveal “creepy things” about Letterman, including the fact that he had sex with staffers on his show.

“The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show,” Letterman said. “Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would. Especially for the women.”

Why did Letterman’s audience find these revelations so funny? Perhaps it was because the late night host decided to talk about serious stuff during a segment that’s usually filled with a Top 10 list. Although we’re happy that Letterman could ‘fess up, we think he could have picked a more appropriate — and serious — venue. Watch the video above and let us know what you think.

Our sister blog TVNewser has more information on the extortion story. The latest revelation from TMZ names one of the women who was involved with Letterman, his former assistant Stephanie Birkitt, who was reportedly Halderman’s live-in girlfriend.

Earlier: David Letterman Marries Longtime Girlfriend

Letterman Takes on His Blackmailer

TMZ reports the man who was trying to extort David Letterman was Robert “Joe” Halderman and he was arrested by authorities.

The women who Dave slept with was Stephanie Birkitt, who wrote in her diary about the affair and her live-in boyfriend stumbled upon it and tried to get $2 million out of Letterman to keep it quiet.

Now here’s what this says about the current state of the media – they cannot afford to pay people will real dirt well anymore. The media has been stretched so thin greedy gossips are being forced into the blackmail racket. And now they are filling jails. A robust media market could have prevented all of this…some of it anyway.

Good for Dave.