NEW YORK • Just weeks after starting a high-profile hosting gig on NBC's Today show, Mr Bill Bush found himself cast in a harsh and unflattering light because of a video of his conversation with Mr Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president.
Both men were heard making vulgar comments about women while taping a segment for Access Hollywood.
The video triggered an outcry against Mr Trump as well as Mr Bush whose Facebook page was flooded with hundreds of angry comments, many from women.
"You're as scummy as he is," wrote Facebook user Gina Preziosi.
Mr Bush, a cousin of former US president George W. Bush, issued a statement, saying: "Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago - I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry."
The 44-year-old is known as a gung-ho entertainment journalist with a talent for cozying up to celebrities, a skill he honed for 15 years on Access Hollywood.
"Hanging around with people, that's my thing," he said in an interview in 2002.
He became a popular figure in the world of entertainment, where he "covered and interviewed literally everyone in Hollywood", Mr Noah Oppenheim, a senior producer of the Today show, wrote in a memo announcing Mr Bush's hire this year.
His move to the 9am slot of the Today show was supposed to be a major career leap. But he struggled to adapt his preppy persona to the gauzier realm of morning television and tensions with co-stars spilled into the open, including an on-air rebuke from co-host Al Roker over his defence of disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.