According to The Wall Street Journal, the veteran TV show host, 44, will make a statement to viewers, but will likely not be fired from the popular daytime program.
Bush issued a statement to Us Weekly on Friday, October 7, after The Washington Post published the footage, which showed the then–Access Hollywood host egging on Trump, 70, as he made vulgar comments about women.
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” Bush said in the statement. “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 the video, Bush is heard exclaiming, “Sheesh, your girl’s hot as s–t. In the purple,” as he spots Days of Our Lives actress Arianne Zucker on set. “Yes! The Donald has scored.”
Bush’s colleagues at the Today show are reportedly concerned about how Bush’s role at the network will be received. “How are any of the women [at Today] going to be expected to work with him?” a source close to the show asked The Hollywood Reporter.
“It’s disgusting,” a female staffer told the site. Another added that Bush was “already unpopular” among the crew, including his 9 a.m. co-anchor, Tamron Hall.
Anthony Quintano, the Today show’s former social media manager, tweeted similar sentiments on Friday. “A majority of the TODAY show production staff is female. Won’t go over well internally to keep Billy Bush around.”
Bush has previously come under fire for coming to the defense of U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, who was caught in a lie about being held at gunpoint in Rio. His staunch support of the disgraced Olympian led to a heated clash between him and Al Roker.
Viewers have already let their thoughts be known on the Today show’s social media channels.
“Between your ineptitude on the Lochte story and this disgusting interaction with Trump, I hope the execs at NBC take a good, long look in the mirror to understand just how low their organization has stooped,” wrote one Facebook user. “I have already switched to Good Morning America and won’t be back.”
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