Donald Trump’s 2005 interview with then “Access Hollywood” reporter, Billy Bush, caught the reporter on video and audio agreeing with many of Trumps vulgar statements. It didn’t exactly reflect well on him or NBC.
Bush, now a co-host of the “Today Show,” has been suspended and there is talk of making the suspension indefinite, and as a result, Bush is circling a lawyer wagon around him. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bush would have been fired from “Access Hollywood” if he didn’t go along with Trump’s sexual comments.
“If Billy had been passive or responded ‘Shut the f— up’ to Trump, Billy would have been out of a job the next day,” litigator Marshall Grossman explained. Bush was an employee of NBC Universal at the time and Grossman explains that he wasn’t in a position to fire back against another NBC star like Trump.
Grossman joined Bush’s legal team this week and is best known for representing Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood in legal matters before.
Bush is currently in negotiations with NBC over the terms of his exit from the network and earns approximately $3 million a year. Bush is also on record talking about his conversation with Trump as far back as August while covering the Olympics. However, NBC higher-ups like chairman Andy Lack and Today Show Senior Vice President Noah Oppenheim didn’t have any knowledge of the tape before it was released.
“NBC News did exactly what you would expect from a great news organization,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement after the tape was released. “As soon as we saw the tape and made the assessment it was undoubtedly newsworthy, we moved quickly and deliberately to get it published and to do so in the most responsible way.”
At the same time, Bush is coming under fire from Trump’s supporters, claiming he was the source of the leak. Buzz Feed writer Anne Helen Peterson tweeted that Trump supporters believe that Bush is the source of the leak. Bush is a cousin of Jeb Bush, who Trump notoriously bullied through the Republican primaries. Distant relative and former President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara have both denounced Trump and indicated that they will not be supporting their party’s nominee this year.