NEW YORK, Oct. 10 (UPI) — Billy Bush, a host on the Today Show, was suspended by the network Sunday night for his presence in a controversial recording of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking degradingly about women.
NBC executives suspended Bush, who can be heard conducting a vulgar conversation about Trump’s behavior around women on a tape released last week, and may be working on a deal to release him from his newly-signed contract with the Today show.
Although network executives were not overly concerned about Bush being part of the conversation when the tape was released, the explosive nature of the story over the weekend and the public’s reaction to the recording led to action being taken.
“We’ve all been deeply troubled by the revelations of the past 48 hours,” said Today show executive Noah Oppenheim in a memo to the show’s staff. “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.”
Although there has been no official word on whether Bush will be back on the show, which he joined recently as a regular co-host, there is speculation lawyers at NBC are working on an exit agreement for him.
Bush apologized Friday for laughing and participating in the lewd conversation with Trump, which included references to his interest in other women and specific comments about Days of Our Lives actress Arianne Zucker — who Bush and Trump met with immediately after having the recorded conversation.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” Bush said in a statement released by NBC News. “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.”