June 11th, 2009
07:32 PM ET
14 years ago

Letterman says Palin joke in 'poor taste'

(Updated at 12:00 p.m. ET with Palin response)

(CNN) - Late night comedian David Letterman, responding to criticism his recent joke about a member of Sarah Palin's family crossed the line, said on his show Wednesday night he is guilty of "poor taste."

But Letterman, who has been a critic of the Alaska governor, said the recent joke - that Palin's "daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez" at a recent Yankees game - was in reference to 18-year-old Bristol Palin, not 14-year-old Willow who actually attended the baseball game with her mother last week.

"We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter [Bristol]... and now they're upset with me," Letterman said. "These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl.

"Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."

iReport.com: Share your thoughts on Palin/Letterman flap

Letterman's comments come a day after the former Republican vice presidential candidate called the joke "inappropriate" and "sexually perverted."

"Acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone's daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others," she said in a statement, assuming the joke was in reference to Willow.

On his show Wednesday Letterman said he hoped he "cleared part of this up" and said Palin is welcome to be a guest on the program at any time.

Palin had also taken issue with an item on Letterman's recent "Top Ten List," in which he said one of the Alaska governor's activities in New York was to buy "makeup at Bloomingdale's to update her slutty flight attendant look."

"The only thing I can say about this is I kind of like that joke," Letterman said.

In an issued statement, Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton said: "The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show. Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman."

Filed under: David Letterman • Sarah Palin
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Fran - Syracuse

    To anyone who thinks there is even a modicum of humor in a national television personality degrading and humiliating a young woman, I say put your money where your mouth is. Send Letterman the name of your daughter, your sister, your friends and let him know that it's okay with you to hold them up to public ridicule.

    June 11, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. JimG

    So Sarah "Bible Spice" Palin thinks it's great to sneer that anyone to the left of Benito Mussolini is a communist, terrorist, illegal alien, etc., and smiles indulgently when her supporters cry for her opponent's murder; but then she blubbers about a late-night comedy monologue?

    June 11, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Leper

    So Letterman's saying he thought it was Bristol at the baseball game instead of Willow? Sorry, but I'm not buying it – Letterman and his writers are perfectly aware of Bristol's activities and the fact that Palin has more than one daughter. I think Palin's right here – the joke was disgusting, and it's still tasteless even if he intended the joke to be about an 18-year old who never asked to be in the spotlight. What I know for sure is that if Letterman made that joke about my daughter, the gloves would come off.

    June 11, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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