Report: Stephanie Birkitt Banned From Letterman’s Set

Stephanie Birkitt--shut out of paradise (Courtesy: MyGloss)

Stephanie Birkitt--shut out of paradise (Courtesy: MyGloss)

TMZ is reporting that Stephanie Birkitt, 34, the personal assistant at the center of the sex scandal involving host David Letterman, has been banned from the CBS set of The Late Show until further notice.

Worldwide Pants just issued the following statement: “Stephanie is on paid leave of absence … she has not been banned from the Ed Sullivan Theatre.”

But TMZ just spoke with someone associated with security at Letterman who just told us, “Security got a verbal order that she is ‘banned’ from the property for the time being.”

Harsh, but understandable. If Letterman is trying to patch things with Regina Lasko, Stephanie’s continued presence in the office during the scandal would be the last thing Lasko would want to know about. So would nervous CBS executives. Especially if the media picked up the scent that she was there despite everything. It’s too soon for any kind of rapprochement.

That doesn’t look good for Birkitt. Her 90-year-old grandmother, Irene Boyle, however, had nice things to say about Letterman. Halderman, though, was another kettle of fish:

“I think she was stupid to go out with him,” Boyle said at her Newport, NH, home.

“People make mistakes and that was one of hers,” Boyle said. “Joe was a mistake.”

Boyle, 90, said Letterman “and Stephanie have always had a good relationship. They joked and kidded around.”

It’s also becoming clear that Robert Halderman’s motives may not have been merely financial. Halderman was furious that Stephanie Birkitt had continued her special friendship with David Letterman all during their relationship. Halderman, who prided himself as quite a sexual gunslinger, wanted revenge after he had read her unsent letters (purple prose and “trash,” so said the New York Post) to Letterman and her diary. When Birkitt left, leaving him to his debts and his latest upsets with his ex-wife, and refusing his ultimatum to stop seeing the talk show host, he wanted to hurt both Birkitt and Letterman.

It’s an old story: two older men vying for the affections of a much younger woman, and both will give differing reasons. I can read the men far better than I can Stephanie Birkitt, though. What did it mean for her? I have trouble seeing her as some kind of temptress, but she was definitely attracted to power, and to powerful men. She wasn’t a victim. She probably saw her affair with Letterman as a way of getting ahead, and was content with it. It’s possible that she loved both men. Halderman may have given her cover; she probably even knew about Halderman’s reputation with women–that she was not the only one, just the one at home. Halderman, though, got a taste of himself as a cuckold, and that must have been a new and galling taste for this middle-aged man.

The mainstream feminist community has roused itself, though I believe few will heed them. Just as the media focuses on one or two black leaders as leaders of all black people, they will focus on one or two women leaders or women’s organizations as representative of all feminists. Naturally some of these people have baggage, like Gloria Allred. Allred sent a open letter to the talk show host that was published on Radar Online, but some people think that it was actually an invitation for any disgruntled female staffers at Worldwide Pants to pick up the phone and call her.

“Let’s call it what it really was — sexual favoritism in the workplace — and since you suggested that you had sex with more than one woman on your staff, some of your employees may believe that sexual favoritism in your workplace is widespread,” the discrimination lawyer wrote. “If this is true, then I believe that your sexual conduct is wrong and potentially in violation of the law even if your sexual relationship with your staffers was consensual and romantic.”

Before ending her lengthy missive, Allred reminded Letterman just because no one has complained about his actions, that doesn’t mean that members of his staff haven’t suffered because of them.

“You said ‘I’m terribly sorry that I put the staff in that position.’ I’m sorry too, Dave,” she wrote. “I’m sorry that you didn’t appear to recognize that your conduct was more than ‘something stupid.’ I’m sorry that you do not appear to recognize that it may have been a denial of equal employment opportunity and a denial of the right of women to have a workplace that is not hostile because of sexual harassment.”

NOW also weighed in with a statement from its president:

NOW President Terry O’Neill blasted the late-night funnyman, saying the affairs were classic examples of sexual harassment in the workplace.

“As ‘the boss,’ he is responsible for setting the tone for his entire workplace — and he did that with sex,” O’Neill said. “This places all employees — including employees who happen to be women — in an awkward, confusing and demoralizing situation.”

A powerful man with a public forum like Letterman, O’Neill said, can get away with turning women into sex objects because “he can crack a few jokes and publicly apologize for his mistakes.”

“It is this kind of hypocrisy that perpetuates the image of men in power preying on women, while many look the other way,” O’Neill said.

NOW urged CBS to take immediate action against Letterman for his lewd behavior — but so far, it has stopped short of calling on the network to drop his show.

“The National Organization for Women calls on CBS … to take action immediately to rectify this situation,” O’Neill said.

But, she added: “With just two women on CBS’ board of directors, we’re not holding our breath.”

Just as I predicted, David Letterman is riding high. He’s beating Conan’s Tonight Show by millions of viewers. Former late night rival Jay Leno may make him the butt of jokes, but Letterman has managed so far to make fun of himself over this embarrassing incident with far more effective results. His sponsors aren’t bolting. I doubt whether subsequent exposures of Birkitt’s diary or letters will shake Letterman’s audience. In some ways, this is like a late night soap opera spectacle–seeing if Letterman will crack.

It would be interesting to know whether Letterman wrote anything to Birkitt.

~ by blksista on October 7, 2009.

One Response to “Report: Stephanie Birkitt Banned From Letterman’s Set”

  1. Letterman is fine; he never was the “Family Values” type. Yes, he probably cheated on his girlfriend now wife. But at least he does go around claiming he is Mr. “Family Values” like some of our politicians (can you just see the grin on all “Fake News” reporters/ commentators and the Palin’s fringe). This has been a tough summer, for Dave, for our economy but at least he did not end up on the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Sanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC).

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