Billy Bush has hired prominent lawyer Marshall Grossman amid his exit from NBC.
Grossman told Us Weekly on Thursday, October 13, that the TV host, 44, was just doing his job when he had a lewd discussion with Donald Trump while he was a host at Access Hollywood. Video of the 2005 conversation aboard an Access Hollywood bus was leaked to The Washington Post, which published the clip last week.
“If Billy had been passive or responded, ‘Shut the f–k up,’ to Trump, Billy would have been out of a job the next day,” Grossman told Us.
As previously reported, Bush was suspended from his hosting duties on the Today show after audio of him participating in a conversation with Trump, 70, in which the Republican presidential candidate boasted about grabbing women by their genitals, was posted.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bush is currently in negotiations with the network regarding his exit.
An insider previously told Us Weekly that Bush won’t be returning to his new gig, which he just started this summer. The job paid him a reported $3 million a year.
“He’s definitely gone. A lot of people feel so bad for him. He’s a good guy. He made a mistake, but he’s a genuinely good guy,” the source explained to Us. “They don’t see any way he can go back on morning TV after this.”
After the footage surfaced, Bush immediately issued an apology. “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” he told Us in a statement on Friday, October 7. “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.”
In a statement to THR, NBC defended its immediate actions after the tape was released by The Washington Post. “NBC News did exactly what you would expect from a great news organization,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Trump has since apologized and repeatedly defended his words as “locker room” banter. During the second presidential debate on Sunday, October 9, Trump also denied that he had ever sexually assaulted any women.