Billy Bush leaves Today Show in wake of lewd tape with Trump
U.S. television personality had joined Today as a co-host in August
U.S. television host Billy Bush is leaving the Today show, NBC said in a note to employees Monday, in the wake of his role in a lewd 2005 conversation with Republican presidential contender Donald Trump about women.
Bush, 45, had been suspended from hosting duties on NBC's flagship morning show after the emergence of the tape, in which Bush and then Apprentice reality star Trump joked and boasted about groping women.
In a statement on Monday, 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."
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NBC's memo said, "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's attorney, Marshall Grossman, said Bush's settlement with NBC did not include any non-compete restrictions and that Bush was "free to do whatever he wishes to do professionally."
He declined to reveal the financial terms of the settlement, citing confidentiality. Grossman had said last week that news reports of a potential $10 million settlement were false.
In the 2005 video, Bush was heard laughing and joking with Trump, who bragged about grabbing and kissing women and trying to seduce a married woman.
The video was recorded during the production of a segment for Access Hollywood, a celebrity and entertainment news program that is also part of the NBC group.
Bush — a cousin of former U.S. 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.
Bush apologized earlier this month, saying he was "embarrassed and ashamed" by his behaviour, and NBC announced it was suspending him from Today.
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 behavior on that tape."
The married woman discussed in the conversation has since been identified as Bush's Access Hollywood co-host Nancy O'Dell.
Last week, O'Dell said that there is "no room for objectification of women, or anyone for that matter, not even in the locker room."