NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — NBC has suspended “Today” show personality Billy Bush indefinitely after he was caught on a videotape from 2005 in a crude conversation about women with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Executive Producer, Noah Oppenheim, of “Today”said in a memo on Sunday that “there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape.” Bush, who hosts the third hour of the “Today” show, has been suspended “pending further review of the matter,” Oppenheim said.
NBC announced its decision two days after the videotape from the “Access Hollywood” archives surfaced. 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 has only been at “Today” for two months, where he’s 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 on Friday when the newspaper was tipped off about its existence and got a story out within hours.
Bush issued a statement Friday apologizing for his actions.
Zucker said in a statement that too many people in power abuse their position.
“I have grown to learn that the words of others cannot [affect] the value of my self worth or define the content of my character. How we treat one another, whether behind closed doors, locker rooms or face to face, should be done with kindness, dignity and respect. Unfortunately, there are too many people in power who abuse their position and disregard these simple principles and are rewarded for it. In understanding the magnitude of this situation, I choose to stand tall with self respect and use my voice to enrich, inspire and elevate the best of who we are as people,” Zucker said.