Friday, October 16, 2009

Bribing Letterman

We’ve had quite a discussion of bribes recently within these four walls, and while it was going on I got to thinking there was another bribe case, a famous one, taking place at the same time out in the real world.

Of course, the David Letterman situation has more to do with criminal extortion than just a bribe, but the similarity was striking.

Money was demanded of a person. This called for a decision: should he pay or not pay?

If he did not pay, he was assured there would be bad consequences; personal information would be released that could be disastrous for his career, as well as threatening for his family life.

Letterman decided not to pay. I have no idea what the personal info was. Surely there must be one or two other cases where showbiz celebrities have fooled around with members of the opposite sex, so that can’t be it. Perhaps it has to do with things of a more serious nature. I suppose this will all be coming out in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, this much is true. David Letterman was told he had to pay up – in a way it was very similar to being forced to pay a bribe – and he refused to do so.


Lulu LaBonne said...

Catching up on bribery and blackmail here Berowne. Those words are often interchangeable but reading your last post we are aware that the officials we have to 'bribe' when we do filming trips in Africa don't actually get paid, the authorities assume that they will be asking for money directly from the public. (Don't some US bars work like that with the bar tender relying on tips).

BTW we may have digital cameras now but we still take 20 X 23kg cases on each trip!

Berowne said...

Very interesting comment; glad to hear from someone now in the production business.

I was not aware that any of the customs officials I had to deal with were not paid. In my opinion they were all paid, even in Africa. It's probable they were not paid much, however.

A bartender may rely on tips, but one does not feel he may destroy your equipment if you don't tip him. In other words, you have a choice. I never felt I had a choice when I was asked for a bribe overseas.

French Fancy said...

Don't let Lulu fool you into thinking those production cases are full of equipment. It's her wardrobe they cart around from country to country.

Jeanne said...

I have to say, I admired Letterman for refusing to be extorted.

Berowne said...

FF: It's her (Lulu's) wardrobe they cart around from country to country. <<

Ha. Wish I could see her when she's fully decked out. :-)

Berowne said...

Jeanne: I have to say, I admired Letterman for refusing to be extorted. <<

Yes, and he handled the situation well. One thing that seems to be true is that a denial usually tends to be worse than the crime. I remember when Rockefeller died in fragrant delicto, to mishandle the Latin phrase, and the family simply denied that such a thing had happened.

Naturally this served to release a huge pack of investigative media folks who turned the event into a kind of criminal investigation and of course they, with great fanfare, dug up the truth. It would have been much quieter and less sensational if the family had made a single statement that said simply, yes, that is what happened.

That's pretty much the way Letterman handled it.

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