TV host Billy Bush leaves NBC Today show amid uproar over Donald Trump lewd tape

Billy Bush arriving for the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hill, California, on Jan 11, 2015.
Billy Bush arriving for the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hill, California, on Jan 11, 2015. PHOTO: EPA
Billy Bush (right) with Donald Trump and actress Arianne Zucker before an appearance on Days Of Our Lives in 2005.
Billy Bush (right) with Donald Trump and actress Arianne Zucker before an appearance on Days Of Our Lives in 2005. PHOTO: OBTAINED BY THE WASHINGTON POST

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - US television host Billy Bush is leaving the Today show, NBC said in a note to employees on Monday (Oct 17), in the wake of his role in a lewd 2005 conversation with Republican presidential contender Donald Trump about women.

Mr Bush, 45, was suspended from hosting duties on NBC's flagship morning show after the emergence of the tape, in which he and then Apprentice reality star Trump joked and boasted about groping women.

In a statement on Monday, Mr Bush said he was "deeply grateful for the conversations I've had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues". NBC's memo said: "While he was a new member of the Today team, he was a valued colleague and long-time member of the broader NBC family. We wish him success as he goes forward."

No further details were given regarding a financial settlement.

 
 

In the 2005 video, Mr Bush was heard laughing and joking with Mr Trump, who bragged about grabbing and kissing women and trying to seduce a married woman.

The video was made as part of a segment for Access Hollywood, a celebrity and entertainment news programme that is also part of the NBC group.

Mr Bush, a cousin of former US president George W. Bush, became one of the co-hosts of the Today show in August. The morning show is one of NBC's most lucrative properties and boasts a large female viewership.

He apologised on Oct 7, saying he was "embarrassed and ashamed" by his behaviour, and NBC announced it was suspending him from Today.

Mr Noah Oppenheim, the executive in charge of Today, had written in a memo to staff that "there is simply no excuse for Billy's language and behaviour on that tape".

The married woman discussed in the conversation has since been identified as Mr Bush's Access Hollywood co-host Nancy O'Dell.

Last week, Ms O'Dell said that there is "no room for objectification of women, or anyone for that matter, not even in the locker room".