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On Sunday, NBC suspended Billy Bush from the 9 a.m. hour of Today after a producer from Access Hollywood unearthed a tape from 11 years ago where he and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made derogatory comments about two different women, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Noah Oppenheim, NBC’s senior vice president, sent out an email to Today show staff, letting them know about the network’s decision to suspend Bush. In the email, he wrote “Let me be clear — there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.”
Oppenheim ended the letter by saying anyone who had concerns should “reach out to me directly.”
On Monday, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie briefly addressed Bush’s suspension and confirmed that he had been suspended by the network.
Pending further review of the matter, NBC News has suspended Billy Bush. pic.twitter.com/uYGydJQV4N
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 10, 2016
Before his suspension was announced, Bush was originally set to appear during the show’s 9 a.m. hour on Monday to formally apologize for his comments that he made in 2005.
The suspension comes as no surprise, as the 9 a.m. hour of Today is more entertainment-based. It’s also been reported that he’s clashed with many of the Today co-hosts, including Al Roker and Tamron Hall, who he co-hosts with in the 9 a.m. hour.
Bush’s Twitter page has been deleted. His Facebook page is still live and hasn’t been updated since Oct. 7. Many of the comments on his most recent post are slamming him for the way he was talking in the video.
A source said that NBC discovered the tape last Monday, when a producer for Access Hollywood found the tape. At the time the tape was recorded, Bush was a co-host on Access Hollywood and was interviewing Trump about his then-upcoming cameo on the NBC soap opera, Days Of Our Lives. During the recording, both men make comments about Nancy O’Dell, Bush’s then co-host, and Arianne Zucker, one of the actresses on Days of Our Lives.
O’Dell and Zucker have both responded. O’Dell talked to Entertainment Tonight, where she’s currently a co-host, and said “Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all. When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better.”
Zucker responded in a TwitLonger post that was posted to her Twitter page.
"My name is Arianne (R-E-on) ZUCKER (Zooker) and I am a strong, independent, hard working (cont) https://t.co/jOE344FCSf
— Arianne Zucker (@Ari_Zucker) October 9, 2016
NBC was going to let Access Hollywood be the one to break the story. Instead, the tape was leaked to The Washington Post, who published a piece on Friday. Embedded into the story is the video that the newspaper obtained. Access Hollywood aired their story in Friday’s episode.
There’s no word as to when Bush’s suspension will be lifted. Rumors of Bush joining the show surfaced in April and he joined the show in August in time to help cover the Rio Olympics. Bush and Natalie Morales, a former co-host of the 9 a.m. hour, switched jobs as Bush took over her job and Morales moved to California to work on Access Hollywood.