Workplace romances are always tricky. You need to make an effort with clothes, brush your hair every day, fake enthusiasm about spreadsheets and not look like you want to kill yourself at 9.15 when you realise you’ve only been at work for fifteen minutes.
But spare a thought for David Letterman the married late night King of American late night TV chat who was forced to admit live on air to dipping his pen into the office ink. Letterman found a file in his car containing incriminating evidence about his dalliances and a demand for two million dollars or the information would, with flick of a malicious wand , swiftly turn into a book and film. A nervous Letterman was then forced to break the news to the American public with the confused studio laughter suggesting the audience thought it was all just some very strange wind up.
Letterman has become an American Angus Dayton, someone once famous for crowing over other celebrities indescretions who finds themselves in the headlines. Although unlike Dayton, Letterman is actually funny, writes his own material and seems to be doing well out of the scandal. Viewing figures for his show have sky-rocketed with more than a third more people tuning in. Surprisingly, no advertisers have distanced themselves from his show and, compared to the scandal that ensued after Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross’s little on air blooper, his career does not seem to be suffering.
It helps that he’s built a career around being a little bit dodgy, sleazy but in an acceptable just the right side of flirty way. He’s like the old man at the party that will joke about getting you drunk so he can feel your breasts, make you genuinely worried that he will, but then not leaving you feeling unaccountably disappointed. He once memorably compared Sarah Palin to a “slutty flight attendant”, suggested her daughter was going to get impregnated at a baseball game and got flashed live on air by Drew Barrymore so no one is really that surprised.
Another person suffering from work based romances problems is Polish Roman Polanski, however since the college involved was a thirteen year old girl he’d promised a modelling career to and then allegedly drugged and raped, it’s understandably different. The director fled the US after being arrested for the crime over twenty seven years ago and has been living in Europe ever since. It was only when he flew to Switzerland to accept an award at a film festival that the Swizz party poopers arrested him and are now preparing to deport him to America. Roman has been refused parole and is awaiting extradition after the French government removed their support.
A petition of International artists has sprung to Roman’s defence including Martin Scorsese, Salman Rushdie and Woody Allen. Here’s a note for you, if you’re ever in a position where you’re accused of a sex crime with a young woman and Woody Allen rings up offering to be your character witness, make yourself a cup of tea and then take a hard, cold look at your life choices.
The defenders of the director have asked for the crime to be judged in relation to the decade it happened in, hey it was the seventies crazy things happened; we wore terrible flares, we loved Lava lamps, we buggered the odd child, relax, hey let’s watch “Charlie’s Angels”. I was born in the eighties, so I think it means that should I wish to I can sink Argentine vessels that are attempting to escape, because that’s just what we did then. The second line of defence is that since he is such a gifted film maker his crime should be considered in light of his incredible talent. This means that should you stumble home late from work, hair stuck to your face after another rainy evening and gratefully switch on your bedroom light to find Steven Spielberg in your bed, eating your food, downloading porn onto your computer as he gloats at the dirty protest he has decorated your entire room with, all he’d have to do is produce a copy of ET and legally you couldn’t touch him. It also means that if you like this column I could probably take some of your crisps without asking. The final line of vindication for the wee man has been the alleged victim’s unwillingness to press charges or even talk about the case publically. Her reluctance is not , it’s argued ,that of a middle aged woman unwilling to revisit a traumatic event from her childhood but proof that she thinks in hindsight that it’s all been a bit of an overreaction and besides it was ages ago!
Roman Polanksi ; giving the seventies ,sleaziness and the passage of time itself a bad name.