Today show anchor Billy Bush has been suspended from the NBC morning show after the recent release of an audio recording that captured a vulgar conversation the former Access Hollywood host had with Donald Trump in 2005.
In an internal memo obtained by ET, Today show senior producer Noah Oppenheim said on Sunday that “there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape” and that Bush has been suspended “pending further review of this matter.”
Bush was set to appear in his anchor seat for the 9 a.m. hour of the Today show on Monday to address his comments made with Trump back when the 44-year-old TV personality was a co-host on the entertainment news program. However, NBC later decided to not let Bush appear.
In a video from 2005, published Friday by The Washington Post, Trump and Bush can be heard making lewd comments about women, including Entertainment Tonight‘s Nancy O’Dell, who was then Bush’s Access Hollywood co-host.
In the footage released by the Post, Trump can be heard telling Bush that he unsuccessfully tried to seduce O’Dell, whom he refers to only as “Nancy.”
The current Republican presidential nominee, who had recently married his current wife, Melania Trump, when the hot mic conversation was recorded, could also be heard making graphically sexual comments that included remarks about groping other women, and stating, “When you’re a star they let you do it… You can do anything.”
In a statement released after video surfaced, Trump said, “This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.”
Bush, who was 33 at the time the tape was recorded, apologized in a statement to ET, saying, “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago – I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
O’Dell also released a statement in response to Trump and Bush’s comments, sharing, “Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all. When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling.”
“Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender,” she continued. “As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better.”
The New York Times also reported on Sunday that Bush’s outgoing voicemail message at his NBC office line echoed Trump’s primary campaign slogan. “You’ve reached Billy Bush’s office,” the message reportedly said. “He’s busy making America great again.”