Female ex-Letterman writer cries foul

Claims she left after host paid her 'extra attention'

A female former writer for "Late Night with David Letterman" says she left the program in part because she was uncomfortable with a work environment in which several female employees benefited from sexual relationships with high-ranking males on the program.

Nell Scovell, a veteran TV writer who wrote for Letterman while he was on NBC during the 1980s, writes on VanityFair.com that "sexual politics" was a "major part" of why she walked away from her dream job after less than a year.

"Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships?" Scovell writes. "Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely."

But she stops short of confirming direct knowledge of any sexual relationship Letterman had, only saying she was "aware of rumors" at the time of an unspecified romances between the host and female staffers. She adds that while Letterman never hit on her, the "extra attention" he paid her was even noticed by another writer on the program.

Scovell writes that she never spoke of the "sexual politics" at "Letterman" until now but nearly told the host why she was leaving at the time.

"On my last day at 'Late Night,' Dave summoned me to his office and pressed me on why I was quitting the show. I considered telling him the truth, but with Dave’s rumored mistress within earshot, I balked."

In the article, Scovell lays responsibility for the hostile work environment on the traditionally male-dominated world of late-night TV writers; she identifies herself as the second-ever female writer hired by Letterman.

Scovell created the ABC series "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," and has written for series including "Monk," "Murphy Brown" and "Coach."

Scovell names neither the "high-ranking" males or female employees on "Late Night" engaged in relationships.