David Letterman has reportedly apologized for sexist behavior he was accused of exhibiting during his time as a late-night TV host.
In 2009, Nell Scovell, who was only the second female writer ever hired for Late Night with David Letterman, wrote a scathing Vanity Fair essay about Letterman, in which she said the show was a “hostile work environment” for women when she worked there.
Scovell, 58, quit the show after less than a year. She went on to work on other television series and created Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
On Wednesday, Scovell published a follow-up piece and revealed that she recently had a meeting with Letterman, 72, in which he apologized for his past actions.
“When I read that document you wrote 10 years ago,” Letterman said, according to Scovell, “I just thought, There’s nothing to be upset about here. It happened, that’s all true.”
“I’m sorry I was that way and I was happy to have read the piece because it wasn’t angering,” he reportedly said. “I felt horrible because who wants to be the guy that makes people unhappy to work where they’re working? I don’t want to be that guy. I’m not that guy now. I was that guy then.”
She said Letterman also addressed his infamous on-air statement in 2009 in which he admitted to an affair with his assistant and sexual relationships with several other female Late Show staffers. The admission came after a CBS News producer allegedly attempted to blackmail him over the affairs.
“It’s not a happy memory,” he said, according to Scovell. “But it’s a memory that changed my life.”
He also apparently apologized for the lack of female writers on the show: “I don’t know how it got sidetracked. It just did. It was sloppiness. Inertia. I see it differently now and if I were to start a show today, holy God, I’m certain there’d be mistakes, but not the mistakes that were just so gosh-dang obvious.”
Letterman’s first talk show, Late Night with David Letterman, ran from 1982 to 1993 on NBC before transitioning to CBS as The Late Show with David Letterman.
His decades-long tenure as host ended on May 20, 2015. He currently hosts a Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.