Billy Bush has been suspended from NBC’s “Today Show.” He will not appear on the show Monday.
Billy Bush’s suspension comes in the wake of his participation in the disturbing Donald Trump tape that was leaked on Friday. Previously NBC had said that it won’t punish Bush for the 2005 tape.
The temporary suspension of Billy Bush came on Sunday afternoon when Noah Oppenheim, the senior Vice President announced the decision via an internal memo to the staff, according to Hollywood Reporter.
“Let me be clear — there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter,” Noah wrote in the memo. Billy Bush has planned to address his vulgar comments made during a 2005 conversation with Donald Trump on Monday’s show.
The 44-year-old came under fire when the tape showed him and Trump having a lewd conversation about two women, Radar Online reports. After the tape was exposed, Bush gave a public apology.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry,” he said.
According to sources, Bush had rubbed many celebrities the wrong way, while one described him as “unliked.” He drew outrage on social media for his comments from women, who constitute majority of the audience of the “Today” show.
NBC and its new executives did not want celebrities, mainly actresses, who appear on the show in the 9 a.m. hour to be uncomfortable at being interviewed by Bush. His Facebook page is filled with negative comments from women.
“NBC News did exactly what you would expect from a great news organization. As soon as we saw the tape and made the assessment it was undoubtedly newsworthy, we moved quickly and deliberately to get it published and to do so in the most responsible way,” said an NBC spokesperson in a statement issued Sunday afternoon.
When NBC executives learnt of the Access Hollywood tape, they thought it was newsworthy, a source said. The insider added the network never thought of protecting Billy Bush.
An Access Hollywood producer unearthed the tape on Oct.3 that clearly shows Billy Bush participating in the lewd comments with Trump. The news division then spent the week legally vetting the contents, and gained clearance from the NBC legal department on Thursday.
Access Hollywood would have aired the tape, but unfortunately for NBC, the tape was leaked by Washington Post on Friday.
NBC has great journalists. I wish it would empower them, rather than celebrity interviewers and sexual assault apologists like Billy Bush. https://t.co/EnicPzQPWF
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) October 9, 2016