NBC has made it official and removed Billy Bush from the Today show after The Washington Post leaked audio of him laughing as Donald Trump talked about groping females:

“Billy Bush will be leaving the Today show’s 9 a.m. hour, effective today,” the network said in a statement to its employees. “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.”

Unconfirmed reports said Bush received a $10 million settlement package.

The network recently promoted Bush to co-host of Today, even relocating him to New York and giving him a multi-million dollar contract.

Bush released this statement:

“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 suspended him last week after the leak. 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.

On Friday, Bush hired Hollywood power lawyer Marshall Grossman, who immediately went on the attack for his client:

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.

Bush thought he had the upper hand since he claims he bragged about the conversation with Trump back in August when he covered the Olympics in Rio. NBC News said the exact opposite:

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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