As is so often the case with David Letterman, it all started with a stupid joke. While on air, Letterman made some comments regarding former vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin and her daughter attending a New York Yankees baseball game. Palin and her 14-year-old daughter had attended the game, after which Letterman joked that Palin’s daughter was “knocked up” by baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez during the seventh inning stretch. Letterman was obviously referring to Palin’s 18-year-old daughter, who recently gave birth to a son.
But the joke was widely misinterpreted. As such, people thought that Letterman was referring to Palin’s younger daughter, and the backlash was swift. Many people were disappointed, outraged, or otherwise disgusted by Letterman’s joke. Michael Patrick Leahy was particularly upset, prompting him to tell FOXNews, “It is highly inappropriate for a 62-year-old man to make sexual insults about a 14-year-old girl.”
Utilizing the venues available to him, Leahy became a co-founder of FireDavidLetterman.com. The site provided a platform for similarly outraged viewers to connect and organize. In particular, they organized a rally calling for the termination of Letterman due to his “disgraceful statements.”
The site also offers a place to add your name and email address in order to let CBS know that you will not purchase any CBS sponsored product until Letterman gets the ax.
Agree or disagree with the platform (cough…overreaction…cough), there’s little doubt that the organizers know how to use social media and social networking to their advantage. On the site, they explicitly call for outraged viewers to send Twitter tweets asking friends and family to sign the anti-Letterman petition. They ask people to verify they’ll be at the rally via Facebook. They even recommend that bloggers call out specific sponsors of the Letterman show in order to let them know their support is not appreciated.
So far, a staggering 30,000 people have signed this pledge.