Refusing to Accept Letterman's Apology

Why the comedian's mea culpa didn't win him many fans--particularly among women

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Monday night, David Letterman went on-air and apologized to his staff and wife for having extramarital affairs with staffers and interns from his show. Though he took a somber tone when he said his wife was "horribly hurt," the comedian didn't miss an opportunity for a joke at his own expense either. "I mean, I'll be honest with you folks. Right now, I would give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail," Letterman said, in a reference to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who claimed he was on the Appalachian Trial when he was in Argentina with his mistress. "I got in the car this morning -- and the navigation lady wasn't speaking to me," he said. All jest aside, columnists say the Letterman's apology may not do much for his reputation in some circles, particularly among women.

  • Made His Wife Sound Like an Afterthought The Guardian's News Blog wasn't impressed with the comedian's "less than stellar expression of regret" to his wife, Regina Lasko. "If his wife was sat at home hoping for some sensitivity, she was out of luck," The Guardian wrote.

Lasko, who has been with Letterman for 23 years, had to wait until later in the show for her message. Her husband first apologised to his Late Show staff, who had been 'wonderfully supportive' over the years - which, given the revelations, is something of an understatement - before turning his attention to his wife. 'Now the other thing is my wife, Regina,' he said, introducing the topic in a way that made her sound suspiciously like an afterthought.

  • Classy Enough, But It Was About Redemption With His Viewers, Not His Wife, Tracy Clark-Flory writes at Salon. "It's an appropriate apology," Flory writes. But, "these sorts of nationally televised apologies are never about the wife -- they're about public opinion. Anything that goes toward legitimately healing their relationship happens in private. Here's hoping that's happening, too."
  • Perhaps Sincere, But an Awkward Apology, At Mediaite, Rachel Sklar isn't sure. "As someone who writes about this for a living, this is the order in which I wrote up these stories: First, David Letterman's On-Air Apology: 'Terribly Sorry' To Staff, Wife." Skylar said Letterman's jokes about his wife not speaking to him were awkward. It's "not to say he didn't mean his apology, but it does feel a little...disconnected from it," she wrote.
  • Letterman May Have Lost Female Viewers, Michael Wolff writes at The Huffington Post.
Women may stop watching him with the same consistency or attention because he wasn't monogamous. The implication is that the women of America have an instinctive sympathy for the person he was supposed to be having sex with (his girlfriend of long-standing, Regina Lasko, the mother of his child, who he finally married this year) and that they feel and share her pain at the betrayal, even though, in this case, we don't know what she feels."
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