There is a growing sense of outrage at NBC’sToday show — especially among the show’s many female staffers — about comments Billy Bush made on a hot mic with Donald Trump during a taping for a 2005 Access Hollywoodsegment. And many of them are wondering what management is going to do about it.
“It’s disgusting,” said one female staffer. “He was already unpopular,” said another, noting that Bush and his 9 a.m. co-anchor, Tamron Hall, have an icy relationship. Bush also has clashed on air with Al Roker over Bush’s handling of an interview with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte during which Bush failed to challenge Lochte’s yarn about being held up at gunpoint in Rio.
NBC delayed releasing the tapes for nearly four days, according to the Washington Post, out of fear of a Trump lawsuit. A source confirms to THR that Access Hollywood and the news division held the audio until lawyer approval.
Trump and Bush were recorded using extremely vulgar and predatory language in a conversation about Nancy O’Dell, who was Bush’s Access Hollywood co-host at the time. While Trump’s comments are far worse, Bush very clearly eggs him on. Trump issued a video apologylate Friday, after facing a rash of criticism. The Republican nominee for president was on Access Hollywood to promote a cameo appearance on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. The conversation was recorded on an Access Hollywood bus that was taking Trump, Bush and a camera crew to the Days set. Actress Arianna Zucker was waiting to escort Trump and when Bush spots her from inside the bus, he can be heard saying: “Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit, in the purple. Yes, the Donald has scored!” When they emerge from the bus, Bush encourages Zucker to hug Trump, and also asks for a hug himself.