Attempted extortion all of a sudden doesn't sound so bad anymore.
David Letterman was the target of a death threat in a violently worded post that popped up on an extremist networking site frequented by al-Qaida, according to SITE Intelligence Group, a private company that trolls the web for possible terrorist activity.
The call to "cut the tongue of this lowly Jew and shut it forever" apparently came after Letterman—who, for the record, is not Jewish—cracked a joke on Late Show perceived as offensive to Islam.
"He showed his evil nature and deep hatred for Islam and Muslims, and said that Ilyas Kashmiri was killed and he joined bin Laden," the poster, identified as Umar al-Basrawi, wrote on the site. "We ask Allah to paralyze his tongue and grant the sincere monotheists his neck."
A SITE analyst described the Shumukh-al-Islam website as a "clearing house for al-Qaida material" and told EW.com that they perceived the diatribe against Letterman as "a more explicit threat" than the one aimed at South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone after they depicted the prophet Muhammad over the course of two episodes in 2009.
Zachary Chesser, a college dropout from Virginia who had tried to hitch his apple cart to a Somalian terrorist organization, had warned Parker and Stone that they would end up like director Theo Van Gogh, who was shot to death by an Islamic extremist in the Netherlands.
Chesser was ultimately sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to supporting a terrorist group, communicating threats and soliciting crimes of violence—all technically unrelated to the South Park stuff.
A rep for Letterman's Worldwide Pants production company respectfully declined to comment, but SITE is advising the funnyman to be on his guard and take the same precautions as he would if he were evading a stalker.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the FBI told E! News, "We are aware, and we're looking into it."