Car owner and talk show host David Letterman waits for the start of the 93nd Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 24, 2009 in Indianapolis. (UPI Photo/Mike Bryand) | License Photo
NEW YORK, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The National Organization for Women says the David Letterman sex scandal is raising serious questions about inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
The U.S. chat-show host admitted on "Late Show with David Letterman" last Thursday that he has had sex with female employees. The on-air revelation came after Lettermnan testified before a grand jury that a man threatened to release the information to the public if Letterman did not pay him $2 million.
Robert Halderman, a CBS News producer, was arrested and charged in the alleged extortion plot. He pleaded innocent and was released on bail.
At Monday's taping of the show, Letterman apologized to both his staff and wife for his indiscretions.
"Recent developments in the David Letterman extortion controversy have raised serious issues about the abuse of power leading to an inappropriate, if not hostile, workplace environment for women and employees," NOW President Terry O'Neill said in a statement released this week.
"In the case of Letterman, he is a multi-million-dollar host of one of the most popular late-night shows; in that role, he wields the ultimate authority as to who gets hired, who gets fired, who gets raises, who advances, and who does entry-level tasks among the 'Late Show' employees," O'Neill added. "As 'the boss,' he is responsible for setting the tone for his entire workplace -- and he did that with sex. In any work environment, this places all employees -- including employees who happen to be women -- in an awkward, confusing and demoralizing situation. Most women can attest to the fact that many workplaces are plagued with inappropriate behavior by men in power. The latest Letterman controversy sheds new light on the widespread objectification of women in the workplace. ... The National Organization for Women calls on CBS to recognize that Letterman's behavior creates a toxic environment and to take action immediately to rectify this situation. With just two women on CBS's board of directors, we're not holding our breath."