Following the release of what's being called the "Trump Tapes" — a vulgar conversation between Billy Bush and Donald Trump from 2005 that was captured on tape — it looks like the Today host might lose his job. According to CNN, Bush has been suspended from Today pending further investigation into the scandal. Bush will be absent from the show for an undisclosed amount of time. It was announced on Sunday that Bush would be reprimanded for his behavior in the lewd audio recordings.
According to an internal memo sent to the entire Today staff obtained by the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone, the executive producer of the daily news show said "there is simply no excuse for Billy's language and behavior on that tape." At first it appeared that Bush would not be disciplined by NBC, however, it seems the media conglomerate had a change of heart after a loud and widespread call for Bush's removal sprang up across social media. Executive producer Noah Oppenheim sent the memo announcing Bush's suspension and the ensuing investigation into the Trump Tapes late on Sunday afternoon.
Bush released a statement on Friday, stating,
Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry.
BuzzFeed reported that Bush was planning on using his time slot on Today to further address the scandal, including Trump's account of attempting to seduce Nancy O'Dell, Bush's former co-host on Access Hollywood.
Despite the Today host's swift apology, the backlash was impossible to ignore. Amy Odell, editor of Cosmopolitan.com, tweeted
Billy Bush should be fired. There's no way for him or NBC to deny or explain or mansplain his complicity in Trump's disgusting behavior.
To make matters worse for NBC and Bush, the majority of the Today show production staff is made up mostly by women. Anthony Quintano, formerly of Today, pointed out that it "won't go over well internally to keep Billy Bush around."
Bush's suspension is effective immediately and there is no word yet on when he will return. CNN reports that some NBC insiders believe Bush will never make a return to Today.