NBC has suspended television personality, Billy Bush, from the
“Today’’ show after fallout over the host’s 2005 taped lewd conversation with U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The development was captured on a show memo seen by Reuters on Sunday.
The suspension comes as a flood of Republicans have withdrawn their support for Trump over the video that emerged on Friday showing the businessman, then a reality TV star, talking with Bush on an open microphone. In the recorded conversation, Trump was conversing on a bus with Bush, then host of NBC’s “Access Hollywood,’’ ahead of a segment they were about to tape. NBC said Bush had been suspended indefinitely from the “Today’’ show, where he hosts the third hour of programming. Noah Oppenheim, the executive in charge of the morning show, wrote in a memo to staff that “there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape.’’ Oppenheim said:
“NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.’’ The controversy has pitched Trump, 70, into the biggest crisis of his campaign and deepened fissures between him and establishment Republicans just a month ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election. The suspension was a stunning turn of events.
The “Today” show recently made a multi-million-dollar bet on Bush, relocating him from Los Angeles to New York and making him a co-host. But the taped 2005 conversation between Bush and Trump has upended the careers of both men. Bush played along and joked with Trump, even while Trump talked about trying to sleep with one of Bush’s colleagues. At the time the video was recorded, Bush was a co-host of NBC’s entertainment show “Access Hollywood.” Now he is a key player on the “Today” show, the profit engine of NBC News. Until Friday, some observers believed he was being groomed to take over for Matt Lauer someday.