Billy Bush is in hot water following the unearthing of 11-year-old footage of he and presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump alluding to sexual assault. The “Today” show host has been suspended by NBC News while they delve deeper into the tape, which was shot inside an “Access Hollywood” bus in 2005, but some speculate that the scandal may have been a major blow to Bush’s career.
People magazine has reported that some sources fear that despite Bush’s quick apology, his participation in the shocking conversation may have done him in. On Monday the publication reported that there is buzz about him being unable to bounce back from the Trump tape leak, which insiders described as “purposeful” and “not a low-level leak.” While whoever sent the tape to the Washington Post — the publication that first published the video on Oct. 7 — it is believed that they intended to have Bush’s part of the conversation edited out to protect him. The clip was reportedly published before that approval was sent and the chaos ensued. Many publications, including “Access Hollywood” — for whom Bush once worked, have shared the Trump tape without Bush’s commentary in it, but People’s source believes that damage has been done.
“People are saying he can’t recover,” one source said. “It’s so ironic that the place that got him there — his job on ‘Access Hollywood’ — is now destroying him.”
On Monday “Today” host Savannah Guthrie made the official announcement that Bush, 44, would not be appearing on the show due to a suspension handed down from NBC network executives. She did not say how long he would be absent from the show, but said that it was “pending further review.” Entertainment Weekly reported that the statement echoed that emailed to “Today” staffers after the footage hit the web. “Today” co-host Al Roker stepped in to co-host the show’s third hour, traditionally hosted by Bush, on Monday. There is some buzz that Carson Daly may step in to replace Bush in the future.
“We want to not one other thing: pending further review of the matter, NBC News has suspended Billy Bush, the host of ‘Today’s’ third hour, for his role in that conversation with Donald Trump,” Guthrie told viewers.
NBC has said nothing more about how long they expect Bush to be suspended from his duties as a “Today” host, but rumors are swirling that his leave may be more permanent. Sources told People that many of Bush’s co-hosts felt it was best for him to bow out of doing the show for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the Trump tape scandal. Insiders said that he has done little to get close with most of his “Today” co-hosts, for one. Another major reason some feel Bush should bow out dates back to August, when he and Roker butted heads over Ryan Lochte’s involvement in vandalizing a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the Olympic games.
“The network and producers are going to have to decide if he’s such a liability that they have to take stronger action,” a source told People. “Does anyone tune in to ‘Today’ to watch Billy? Probably not really. So if he leaves, it’s not a big deal.”
The tape in question leaked late last week and was filmed nearly 11 years ago while Bush and Trump were visiting a the set of “Days of Our Lives.” In it, Trump — who, at the time, had recently married wife Melania Trump — can be heard bragging about trying and failing to make a sexual advance on a married woman. He then suggests that male celebrities can easily persuade women to let them be inappropriate with them because of their star power. In fact, he suggests that women will do “whatever you want” if you’re famous enough. Bush then begins discussing Arianne Zucker, who was set to escort the two men around the set. He calls her “hot as s---,” at which time Trump suggests he should “use some Tic Tacs” incase he felt inclined to kiss her.
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” he said.
Both Trump and Bush have issued statements regarding the tape which they consider to be apologies. It remains unclear what the long-term fallout from the leak will be or if more footage will surface in the coming weeks.