From Sutter to Lauer, Hollywood Sees a Flurry of Letters From the Edge (Column)

Matt Lauer Kurt Sutter

Let’s talk about the whacked-out letters that hit the media sphere in the past eight days.

One was that bizarre mea culpa dropped Oct. 17 by the no-holds-barred showrunner Kurt Sutter in response to getting canned from his series “Mayans MC.” No stranger to complaints of unprofessional behavior on his sets over the years, Sutter acknowledges in his letter to the cast and crew of the “Sons of Anarchy” spinoff that “at least being fired for being an abrasive dick is on brand,” further admitting that his “arrogance and chronic distraction has created wreckage.”

While Sutter’s offensive conduct is inexcusable, and one can only hope he’s finally working on improving his on-set M.O., at least he’s publicly owning up to it — as he has in the past.

Then there was Matt Lauer’s Oct. 9 open letter in which he staunchly denies allegations by former NBC News co-worker Brooke Nevils that he anally raped her in his hotel room in 2014. Naturally, Lauer has the right to defend himself against the serious accusations unveiled in Ronan Farrow’s new book, “Catch and Kill,” insisting that his encounter with Nevils was a “consensual extramarital affair.” But did he really need to specify what sexual acts the two allegedly engaged in for our reading displeasure? Making it even more cringeworthy, he explains the reason he hadn’t defended himself for nearly two years against accusations of sexual misconduct by multiple co-workers was that he wanted to protect his children from having to read more nasty headlines about him. I’m confused why he decided it was now OK to subject them to such graphic details.

I’m just wondering if these kinds of “open” letters ever find their way to industries outside Hollywood.

And finally, I had to laugh at the Oct. 16 letter reported here and elsewhere in the media that Donald Trump’s lawyer shot off to CNN and its corporate owner, AT&T, threatening to sue the cable news network over its “highly biased” coverage of him. Gee, Fox News is so objective when it comes to Trump. I concur with CNN’s retort: “This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and doesn’t merit a response.”