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'Late Show' workplace called 'fair'

Its executive producer responds to complaints from a national women's

October 21, 2009|Matea Gold

NEW YORK — Rob Burnett, executive producer of "Late Show With David Letterman," is defending the program's treatment of women after the National Organization for Women complained that Letterman's relationship with female staffers created a "toxic environment."

In a letter of response to NOW, released Tuesday by the organization, Burnett said that the show has long taken seriously the issue of respect for women in the workplace.

"As an employee of David Letterman's since 1985, I have personally found the work environment on his shows to be fair, professional and entirely merit-based at all times," he wrote on Oct. 15.

Burnett said that 58% of the "Late Show" staff are women, including three of the show's four executive producers during the last nine years. He added that the program's human resources department contacted each member of the "Late Show" staff to determine that they did not feel harassed, noting that Letterman has never had a complaint filed against him.

Earlier this month, NOW President Terry O'Neill sent letters to Burnett, who is also president of Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, and CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, requesting a meeting to discuss the work environment for their female employees.

"When a powerful boss like Mr. Letterman has sex with his subordinates it infects the work culture with uncertainty, gossip, and in some cases, hostility," she wrote.

NOW said that it has not received a response from Moonves.


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