What a bizarre, and rather sad, story. When I first tweeted the news of the extortion attempt against David Letterman -- and his admission that he has had sexual relations with staff members -- I got a lot of unusual responses from people:
That's a pretty serious thing to be throwing around on Twitter. What's your source?
is your Twitter HACKED?
Here's my updated story in Variety about the news, and how Letterman handled it on Thursday's show. It appeared like the audience wasn't sure at first whether Letterman was doing a bit, or if he was serious. It didn't help that Dave kept nervously making quips while explaining the situation. (That led to one point where the audience laughed -- and a serious Dave asked, "Why is that funny?").
"I get to looking through it and there's a letter in the package and it says, 'I know that you do some terrible, terrible things. And I can prove that you do these terrible things.' Sure enough, contained in the package was stuff to prove that I do terrible things," Letterman said on Thursday's edition of CBS' "Late Show."
The host said the alleged extortion suspect claimed he planned to write both a movie screenplay and a book based on what he knew -- that Letterman had engaged in sex with staffers.
"He's going to take all the terrible stuff he knows about my life -- and according to this packet, there seems to be a lot of terrible stuff he knows about -- and he's going to put it into a movie unless I give him some money," he said. "That's a little hinky. I just want to reiterate how terrifying this moment is. Because there's something very insidious about, is he standing down there, is he hiding under the car, am I going to get a tap on the shoulder?"
Letterman said the individual threatened to go public with the allegations unless Letterman paid the person $2 million.
The host, under advisement of his attorney, met with the man on three different occasions. According to Letterman, the suspect even made it clear he knew what he was doing was illegal.
Letterman told his audience that he then contacted the Manhattan District Attorney's Special Prosecution Bureau.
"I had to tell them how I was disturbed by this I was worried for myself, I was worried for my family, I felt menaced by this, and I had to tell them all of the creepy things that I have done that were going to be exposed," he said.
Letterman was obviously distracted the rest of the show. Meanwhile, I'll be on NBC's Today show tomorrow to talk more about the news...