David Letterman admits on his show that he has had sex with women who work for him -- and the audience laughs.
He told about this on the air because someone was apparently trying to extort money from him by threatening to tell about the sex with staffers unless Letterman paid him off.
Letterman claims he was admitting the sex because he "has to protect these people." The audience applauds.
What a great guy! Right.
Yes, extortion is wrong.
But a boss sleeping with women on his staff also is wrong. One also assumes it's against the policies of CBS for a boss to have sex with people who work for him or her. What will CBS do now? You can bet that women all over the network are watching this carefully, because if they do nothing, any protection these women have from sexual harassment becomes meaningless. Any supervisor accused of harassing an employee for sex will be able to point to Letterman and HR suddenly can't do much.
Let's talk about sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is all about imbalance of power. It's about women [and yes, men too] feeling pressured to have sex with the boss because, well, he's the boss and could have them fired.
It's about "creating a hostile work environment." That doesn't just mean having to face demands for sex every day at the office -- although that is terrible enough.
Let's imagine how all the women on the staff of the Letterman show feel now? Every one of them now is being looked at -- did he sleep with her? Or her? Is that why she got that raise? Did that one refuse and that's why she's now working weekends? What about the one who was fired? Was it because she said no?
Men in the office are probably wondering if that's why they got passed over for an assignment they wanted. Will their resentment be aimed at Letterman? Not a chance. They will resent the women for "using" sex to get what the men thought they deserved.
Yes, indeed, it will do wonders for the morale of the staff.
Letterman said it himself. He's a creep. But he's also a creep who very likely violated company policies that could get people fired.
Let's hope the policies work and do exactly that.