David Letterman has pissed off many celebrities but that's nothing compared to his inappropriate behaviour with female celebrities on-air.
Trigger warning: The article includes topics and acts of sexual assault that could be distressing to some readers.
When FX/Hulu released the documentary The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears, it started a conversation about how the pop star was portrayed by the media, her mental health, and how big a role the toxic behavior of media played in it. It also sparked a debate about how men in media have gotten away with bad behavior towards famous women, and David Letterman might be on top of that list.
Branding him as only an "as***le" as Cher did may not be enough as many of his actions towards the famed women fall under the category of harassment. Recently, Paris Hilton reflected on her 2007 interview with the talk show host. She spoke about how the host repeatedly asked the then-26-year-old about her three weeks in jail for violating her probation in an alcohol-related driving incident.
"At this point, I hadn't done an interview in months and months, because I didn't want to talk about it. Letterman's team kept calling my PR team to have me on the show, and we kept saying no," Paris revealed, as per EW. She said she went on the show only to promote a fragrance but on one condition. "My PR team made an agreement to him that [the prison discussion] was off-limits, and we would not discuss it, and we'd only be there to promote the perfume and my other business ventures. I felt like it was a safe place because I'd been going on Letterman for so many years, and he'd always have fun with me and joke around, and I thought he'd keep his word on this. And I was wrong."
He kept badgering her about her prison stint - "How did you like being in jail?" - even when she was clearly uncomfortable discussing it, even tearing up at one point.
And, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Here are 10 other interviews of Letterman with famous women that shows how he mistreated them:
He is complicit in creating conditions that led to Britney Spears' mental health illness. One segment on the show was insensitively titled "top 10 ways the world would be different if Britney Spears was president."
She was clearly irritated and not willing to discuss Timberlake tearing her clothes off on stage, but he wouldn't take no for an answer, even when she clearly said "I don't want to relive it."
If this doesn't count as sexual harassment at the workplace, what does?
If Madonna wasn't Madonna, this interview would have gone very differently.
Not only did he smell her hair, he put a lock of it in his mouth too, while Aniston sat there uncomfortable. There is no way this is okay. Not then, not now.
Joking about rehab is not comedy, it's just cruel. This is not journalism, this is bullying.
Just, No. Nope. She was talking about how hard she works for her shows and the toll it takes on her physically, and he made it about something else, something inappropriate. No wonder, it reflected in his behaviour at his workplace too.
This is just icky.
This is just uncomfortable to watch.
She was on the show to promote her work, the movie Wedding Planner and her new album. Instead, he chose to allow his crew to objectify her body, all while the audience laughed.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris