After several days of negotiations, "Today" show host Billy Bush is officially gone from NBC.
Bush never returned to his job after 7 October 2016. He was placed on leave after 2005 audio surfaced of him snickering and encouraging Donald Trump, who at the time was making a cameo on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives" (Bush was a host of "Access Hollywood" at the time):
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want.
Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
Bush: Uh, yeah, those legs, all I can see is the legs.
Trump: Oh, it looks good.
Bush: Come on shorty.
Trump: Ooh, nice legs, huh?
Bush: Oof, get out of the way, honey. Oh, that’s good legs. Go ahead.
In a statement, Bush said:
I am deeply grateful for the conversations I’ve had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues. I look forward to what lies ahead.
NBC's senior vice president, Noah Oppenheim, wrote in an internal memo that Bush would be leaving effective immediately:
In his memo Monday, Oppenheim wrote of Bush: "While he was a new member of the TODAY team, he was a valued colleague and longtime member of the broader NBC family. We wish him success as he goes forward."
Bush apologized in a personal statement after the video surfaced, saying that he was "embarrassed and ashamed" and that although the incident happened 11 years ago, "that's no excuse."
Bush had just begun a three-year contract, and was reportedly making about $3 million a year.