30 most shocking late night scandals

Credit: CBS
Credit: CBS /
23 of 30

8. David Letterman’s jokes about Sarah Palin’s daughter create a firestorm

In June of 2009, Sarah Palin was visiting New York with one of her daughters. So on two consecutive nights on Late Night with David Letterman, Dave made sexual jokes about Palin’s daughter. He didn’t refer to her by name, only referring to her as Palin’s daughter who was in town with her mother. The problem: the only daughter with Palin at the time was her 14 year old, Willow.

As you can expect, things got heated quickly. Palin took to the internet to put Letterman on blast for making sexual jokes about such a young girl. The former Alaskan governor said it’s disgusting for a man in his 60s to be inciting laughter by saying such things about a 14 year old girl. A lot of the public supported her, saying the jokes weren’t appropriate at all.

Letterman tried to diffuse the situation by clarifying that he was joking about Palin’s 18 year old daughter Bristol. This made more sense, as many comics had been making fun of Bristol for being an unwed pregnant teenager. It was the source of controversy during Palin’s 2008 presidential bid with John McCain. Still, the public wasn’t happy, and Letterman would soon after apologize for the jokes on his program.