“If Billy had been passive or responded ‘Shut the f— up’ to Trump, Billy would have been out of a job the next day.”
NBC suspended Billy Bush after he appeared on the controversial audio with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, but the two will not separate nicely. Bush hired Hollywood power lawyer Marshall Grossman, who immediately when on the attack:
Bush, Grossman says, was an NBCUniversal employee interviewing an NBC star in The Apprentice’s Trump, so he wasn’t exactly in a position to challenge his interview subject.
“If Billy had been passive or responded ‘Shut the f— up’ to Trump, Billy would have been out of a job the next day,” Grossman, a partner at Orrick in Los Angeles, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Some have said that Bush appears to encourage and egg on Trump as the then-host of The Apprentice talked about the ability to grab women and kiss them because of his star status.
Bush, who appeared on Access Hollywood and Today, received a suspension after The Washington Post published the story. One source told CNN Money that Bush “will never be on the show again” while another “confirmed Monday that his return is unlikely.”
The network recently promoted Bush to co-host of Today, even relocating him to New York and giving him a multi-million dollar contract. One of those sources, though, thought Bush would apologize on air on Monday, but officials at NBC suspended him on Sunday:
A couple of hours later, the executive in charge of “Today,” Noah Oppenheim, said in an internal memo that the executives had decided to go even further and suspend Bush.
“I know we’ve all been deeply troubled by the revelations of the past 48 hours,” Oppenheim wrote.
“Let me be clear — there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape,” he wrote. “NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.”
Bush also thinks he has the upper hand “because he had told NBC colleagues about his Trump conversation at least as far back as August, when he was covering the Olympics in Rio.”
NBC News says otherwise:
NBC News sources have insisted news division management — chairman Andy Lack and Today senior vp Noah Oppenheim — did not learn about the tape that captured Bush and Trump on a hot mic and offcamera engaged in a misogynist and predatory conversation until early last week.
“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.”
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