Monday, June 15, 2009

Well, yeah, when it starts costing them money...

Late night talk show host David Letterman apologized again on Monday to the Palin family for his "joke" regarding Willow Palin:

On Monday's edition of "Late Show," Letterman explained that the risque joke thought by some to have targeted Palin's underage daughter, Willow, was actually referring to 18-year-old daughter Bristol. The name of the daughter wasn't mentioned in the joke, which was part of Letterman's monologue on last Monday's show.

It was "a coarse joke," "a bad joke," Letterman told viewers. "But I never thought it was (about) anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure, in fact, that she is of legal age, 18."

"The joke, really, in and of itself, can't be defended," he declared.

The apology follows news that CBS has lost an advertiser on its website:

Embassy Suites, part of the Hilton Hotels Corp., pulled advertising on CBS' site because of complaints, company spokeswoman Kendra Walker told The company was not an advertiser on Late Night with David Letterman.

"We received lots of e-mails from concerned guests and we assessed that the statement that he made was offensive enough to our guests and prospective guests that we elected to take the ads down," Walker said.

CBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Letterman's apology was less defensive than his previous "apology" and seemed to understand the uproar:

On Monday's show, Letterman said, "I'm wondering, 'Well, what can I do to help people understand that I would never make a joke like this?' I've never made jokes like this, as long as we've been on the air, 30 long years."

If that's the misconception — that the joke was aimed at a 14-year-old — he understands why people are upset, he said. "I would be upset myself." Letterman has said from the beginning that he thought the Palin daughter who attended the Yankee game was Bristol.

"I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke," he said. "It's not your fault that it was misunderstood, it's my fault that it was misunderstood."

He apologized to both daughters, "and also to the Governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke," he said as the studio audience applauded. "I'm sorry about it, and I'll try to do better in the future."

He's still not funny. However, I'm hoping the Palins at this point consider the matter closed since the apology is probably the most they can reasonably expect.