Letterman grovels after sex joke about Palin's daughter
Wednesday 17 June 2009
Say what you like about Sarah Palin, but if you happen to be David Letterman, or any other member of America's liberal media elite, then it's an extremely bad idea to go cracking jokes about the sex life of her teenage daughters.
The veteran chat-show host has been forced to make not one, but two on-air apologies after a comic monologue making fun of the Alaska Governor and her colourful family life spectacularly backfired.
"It was a coarse joke, a bad joke," a contrite Letterman admitted during Monday night's edition of The Late Show. "The joke, really, in and of itself can't be defended... I'm sorry about it, and I'll try to do better in the future."
Trouble had been brewing since last week, when Letterman devoted a segment of his programme to topical gags about a visit Palin had made to New York with her husband, Todd, and 14-year-old daughter Willow.
After relatively innocuous jokes about a trip to Bloomingdales, Letterman moved on to the Palins' trip to a New York Yankees baseball game. "There was one awkward moment during the seventh inning stretch," it went. "Her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez," the Yankees star with a famously voracious sexual appetite.
Conservative viewers were not amused, since it soon emerged that Willow, and not Bristol, had been in the crowd. Within hours, the Palins accused Letterman of making "disgusting" jokes that made light of the sexual exploitation of a 14-year-old girl.
"Hollywood and New York entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands," claimed Mrs Palin, who added that such jokes "contribute to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by old men."
The row snowballed, and though Letterman issued a half-baked apology on Friday, outraged supporters of Mrs Palin threatened to picket his studios.
Cynics wondered if both Mrs Palin, mulling a presidential bid in 2012 and Letterman, whose ratings recently overtook rival Conan O'Brien, had an interest in stirring up a dispute.
However CBS, the broadcaster of The Late Show, was very soon disabused of that notion, when advertisers like Embassy Suites, the hotel organisation, began pulling out of the show.
Letterman's second apology lasted eight minutes. It was humorous in tone, and stressed that he had intended in his original joke to portray Bristol Palin, 18, rather than her younger sister.
Yesterday, Palin accepted it "on behalf of young women, like my daughters, who hope men who 'joke' about... sexual exploitation of girls will soon evolve".
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...
£80 – 120K : Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director – Ad tech - £80 – 120K...
40,000- 50,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: Senior Analyst – Global Sports Gam...