David Letterman Apologizes for Sexist Behavior During 'Late Show' Tenure

Former 'Late Show With David Letterman' writer Nell Scovell called out her boss in an article for 'Vanity Fair' a decade ago.

David Letterman

Image via Getty/Andrew Toth

David Letterman

Former Late Show with David Letterman writer Nell Scovell called out her boss in a piece for Vanity Fair a decade ago, and now the 72-year-old talk show host has apologized for his sexist behavior. In a new article, Scovell detailed her issues with Letterman further and the talk she had with him about the original story.

"You know, the other night I read the piece that you wrote ten years ago," Letterman said to Scovell. "And I thought, Holy shit, this is so disturbing and, sadly, a perspective that I did not have. ... 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." 

Scovell's original article pointed out how Letterman and the staff at Late Show favored male writers over female writers, but Letterman only just read it recently when he agreed to talk about his past behavior. Instead of denying any of his actions, Letterman admitted and apologized to Scovell. In 2009, the then-Late Show host admitted to having sexual relationships with female staff members of the show.

"It’s not a happy memory," he said of the sex scandal he admitted to. "But it's a memory that changed my life."

Addressing the lack of female writers he had on the show, he added, "I don’t know how it got sidetracked. It just did. It was sloppiness. Inertia. I see it differently now and if I were to start a show today, holy God, I’m certain there’d be mistakes, but not the mistakes that were just so gosh-dang obvious."

Wrapping up her story, Scovell said that she was appreciative to talk with a forthcoming Letterman. "We need more dialogue so men can understand the difference between criticism and condemnation," she wrote. "And we need more dialogue so women can voice discomfort without fear of retaliation. Dave's willingness to speak to me on the record is part of him making amends."

Read the entire story on Vanity Fair here.

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