Last night David Letterman managed to continue to shock and surprise viewers. Rather than pulling some stunt, or inviting Barack Obama, Letterman revealed his recent personal experiences. In a stunning move, Dave asked the audience “Do you feel like a story?” He then recounted a CBS employee’s attempt to extort 2 million dollars from him in exchange for keeping quiet on known affairs with his employees.
Letterman says he received a package from a CBS employee, an Emmy Winning Producer for “48 Hours”, demanding the money or else he would go public with the information. Letterman aided authorities in catching the accused producer, and decided to come clean to the audience about his affairs with his employees.
While this is a personal matter, it highlights the pitfalls of romantic and sexual relationships at work. Any workplace sexual relationship can put individuals in difficult situations, and affect job performance, and complicate the work environment. Individuals in the media or in positions of power, such as politicians and entertainers, need to be even more cautious about engaging in sexual relationships with employees; what might seem consensual at the time can easily be perceived by an employee (or a third party) to be non-consensual at a later time.
While we understand Mr. Letterman’s attempt to stem any gossip regarding the admitted affairs stemming from the criminal investigation, we disagree with the ways in which he quickly dismisses sexual relationships with his staff and coworkers. While all the details have not yet been revealed, it is troubling to us that he can casually brush off the very sensitive and risky implications of engaging in sexual relationships with employees.