David Letterman might have thought that taking a week off from Late Show duties would at least temporarily decrease the bad publicity. Clearly, he thought wrong.
This time around, he has former scorned employee Nell Scovell to thank for bringing the subject of his indiscretions back under the microscope.
Scovell, one of the few female writers ever to be hired at Letterman HQ (or, for that matter, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien HQ), is speaking writing out about her time working for the Top 10 boss via a short essay for Vanity Fair that paints her late '80s tenure on his NBC Late Night show as one marred by uncomfortable tension, hostile environments and sexual favoritism.
Scovell starts weaving her tale exactly where people want her to: in the gutter.
"Let's address the pertinent questions," she writes. "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."
Inappropriate or not, Letterman was hardly the only one supposedly engaging in such consensual interoffice relationships at the time, per Scovell, who stops short of confirming direct knowledge of the affairs.
"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."
As a result, Scovell walked away from her so-called dream job after just a few months. And since the writer apparently never raised a question she also didn't answer, she explained why she felt the need to step up now and shed new light on the situation rehash old and not particularly compelling details of work life in the home office.
"People who have no knowledge of the situation are voicing opinions, so why not me?" she wrote before showing her cards and revealing why, exactly, she decided to come forward.
"Now, I don't want a lawsuit. I don't want compensation. I don't want revenge. I don't want Dave to go down (oh, grow up, people). I just want Dave to hire some qualified female writers and then treat them with respect. And that goes for Jay and Conan, too."
(Attempting to shame the respective HR departments into action by revealing how horrid your employment experience was may not be the best way to go, but hey, to each her own.)
And while Scovell barely mentions any personal interaction with the man himself, she did relay one encounter: namely, that of quittin' day.
"On my last day at Late Night, Dave summoned me to his office and pressed me on why I was quitting the show. I considered telling him the truth, but with Dave's rumored mistress within earshot, I balked.
"Instead, I told him I missed L.A. Dave said, 'You're welcome back anytime.'"
So there you have it. What a brute.
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