NEW YORK, Oct. 17 (UPI) — Television personality Billy Bush will not return to NBC’s Today for his part in an audio recording from 2005 that contains GOP candidate Donald Trump making insensitive remarks about women, the network said Monday.
Senior Vice President Noah Oppenheim confirmed the departure Monday in an internal memorandum to employees at NBC.
“While he was a new member of the Today team, he was a valued colleague and longtime member of the broader NBC family,” the memo said. “We wish him success as he goes forward.”
On the tape, Trump is heard telling Bush during an interview for Access Hollywood about how being rich and famous allows people to make sexual advances on women, whether they want it or not.
“I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said. “You can do anything.”
Trump also seemed to advocate further advances, including “grabbing” women’s genitals.
The discussion was not part of the actual TV interview, but rather a “hot mic” moment between the two as they talked off the record.
The tape has inflicted catastrophic damage on Trump’s presidential campaign, and now Bush’s employment with NBCUniversal.
Bush was caught up in the scandal because he is heard on the tape laughing, seemingly unconcerned, at Trump’s comments.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago,” Bush said after the tape’s release on Oct. 7 by The Washington Post. “I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
Bush joined Today as a co-host in August. In July, he was the interviewer to whom disgraced swimmer Ryan Lochte told that he’d been robbed at gunpoint at the Summer Olympics in Brazil.
Trump has apologized for the tape, saying, “nobody has more respect for women than me,” and claimed that the discussion is no different than numerous others heard in locker rooms across the country.