David Letterman apologises to Nell Scovell over her 'sexual favouritism' claims

Ravi Bansal

Los Angeles, Nov 1 (PTI) Veteran TV host David Letterman has tendered an apology to Nell Scovell, ten years after she had called him out for creating toxic work environment and indulging in sexist behaviour on the sets of his late night show.

Scovell, who worked as a writer on 'Late Night With David Letterman' in the 1990s, had penned an essay in Vanity Fair in 2009 and accused him of promoting 'sexual favouritism' among his staffers.

On Wednesday, Scovell wrote another essay for the outlet and said that she and Letterman recently had a conversation about the whole issue.

'You know, the other night I read the piece that you wrote 10 years ago. And I thought, Holy s**t, this is so disturbing and, sadly, a perspective that I did not have because the only perspective I had was in here.

'I'm sorry I was that way and I was happy to have read the piece because it wasn't angering. I felt horrible because who wants to be the guy that makes people unhappy to work where they’re working? I don’t want to be that guy. I’m not that guy now. I was that guy then,' Letterman told Scovell during their meeting.

In her 2009 piece, Scovell wrote that she learned during her five-month tenure on in 1990 that few women had been hired as writers and that Letterman had preferences for staffers who accepted his advances.

'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 rumours 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,' she wrote.

In her new essay, Scovell said there need to be more conversations, like the one she had with Letterman, among men and women.

'We need more dialogue so men can understand the difference between criticism and condemnation. And we need more dialogue so women can voice discomfort without fear of retaliation,' she said.

'Dave's willingness to speak to me on the record is part of him making amends. His acknowledgment of mistakes and regret go out to those who were wronged. They also go out to the enablers and defenders of his behaviour. That’s equally important,' she added. PTI RB RBRB