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Former Letterman Writer: Sex Equaled Favoritism

Woman who wrote for ”Late Night“ describes sexual politics in the writers’ room.

A former "Late Night" writer says David Letterman favored staffers with whom he was sexually involved, creating an environment that made her and other female employees feel demeaned.

Nell Scovell, who wrote for "Late Night with David Letterman" in 1988, said the show’s uncomfortable sexual politics created an environment that prevented advancement for women who were not in a relationship with Letterman or other high-level male employees.

In a first-person account of her time at Letterman’s writer’s table, published on VanityFair.com, Scovell she says she hopes the controversy surrounding the host’s admission of sexual indiscretions with staffers will draw attention to the boy’s-club mentality that prevails at late-night talk shows.

"I’d like to pivot the discussion away from the bedroom and toward the writers’ room, because it pains me that almost 20 years later, the situation for female writers in late-night TV hasn’t improved," Scovell writes. "Now, I don’t want a lawsuit. I don’t want compensation. I don’t want revenge. I don’t want Dave to go down (oh, grow up, people). I just want Dave to hire some qualified female writers and then treat them with respect."

"I know it might seem awkward at first. Men might feel they have to censor themselves once females crash the party," Scovell concludes. "But I have a dream—that one day a late-night writers’ room will be filled with poop jokes and fart jokes and jerking-off-to-Angelina-Jolie’s-face-on-a-magazine jokes, and everyone will laugh, including men and women of all creeds and colors."