NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — NBC News has fired Billy Bush after an “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005 surfaced showing the former host having a lewd conversation about women with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
NBC announced that Bush will be leaving the “Today” show’s 9 a.m. hour effective Monday. Bush was suspended at the morning show two days after contents of the 2005 tape were reported on Oct. 7. NBC and Bush’s representatives had been negotiating terms of his exit before Monday’s announcement.
“While he was a new member of the TODAY team, he was a valued colleague and a longtime member of the broader NBC family. We wish him success as he goes forward,” a note sent to the show’s staff read, according to CBS News.
Bush said in a statement he looks “forward to what lies ahead.”
“I am deeply grateful for the conversations I’ve had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues. I look forward to what lies ahead,” Bush said.
Bush was a host for that show in 2005, and he was taped in a hot-mic discussion with Trump when the future presidential nominee was on a Hollywood set to make an appearance on a soap opera.
On the tape, Trump brags about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women who were not his wife. Bush joins in, laughing at some of Trump’s comments and later encouraging an actress to hug Trump.
Bush was only at “Today” for two months, where he had a rocky start. He was the reporter to whom American swimmer Ryan Lochte lied about being robbed at the Olympics. When Bush later tried to defend Lochte on “Today,” he was dressed down by colleague Al Roker.
The “Access Hollywood” tape was an embarrassment on multiple levels for NBC News. The news division for days had been aware of the tape from the NBC-owned entertainment show, but was scooped by The Washington Post when the newspaper was tipped off about its existence and got a story out within hours.
The tape showed Bush and Trump speaking as the Republican was about to appear on the daytime drama “Days of Our Lives.” From the bus they had ridden to the set, Bush pointed out to Trump an actress, Arianne Zucker, who was there to greet them.
Bush called the actress “hot,” adding an expletive.
“I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump said. “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. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything,” Trump added.
After getting off the bus, Bush asks the actress to hug Trump, then adds, “How about a little hug for the Bushy?”
The married father of three is the nephew of former President George H.W. Bush.
Trump has denied groping women.