Coming off an extremely rough weekend for Billy Bush, who in August moved from Access Hollywood to officially join Today, his former co-host Kit Hoover joined the show’s new anchor, Natalie Morales, in supporting him.
On Friday afternoon, a tape of Bush talking to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump surfaced. Trump was bragging about how being famous made women fall for him and mentioned hitting on a married woman without success. Over the weekend, it was revealed that the woman in question was Nancy O’Dell, Bush’s former co-anchor at Access Hollywood and current anchor of Entertainment Tonight.
O’Dell released a statement over the weekend, saying on the ET website: "Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all," she wrote. "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. 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.”
Bush apologized over the weekend, 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,"
But that wasn't enough. On Sunday night, NBC News suspended Bush from Today, with executive producer Noah Oppenheim telling staff in a memo: “There is simply no excuse for Billy's language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter."
Since then, CNN has reported that Bush is unlikely to return to Today.
Sunday night's second presidential debate saw moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz spend the first 20 minutes or so getting both nominees' reactions to the tape, with Trump saying he had apologized to the country and wasn't proud of his comments, but that in the end it was only "locker-room talk."
Monday’s Today replaced Bush with Al Roker at 9 a.m., and the program offered only a brief mention of the controversy, with anchor Savannah Guthrie confirming that Bush is indefinitely suspended from the program.
Hoover and Morales took a little more time with the topic, however.
Speaking at the top of Monday’s Access Hollywood Live, Hoover said: "He was always in my corner… the Billy that I know… has the biggest heart of anybody, and he is a good person."
Hoover worked side by side with Bush for six years, as both his co-host on Access Hollywood Live and on Access Hollywood.
Morales and Bush essentially exchanged jobs over the summer, with Morales moving to Los Angeles to become an anchor on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live and West Coast anchor of Today.
"One of the first people to call me and congratulate me when I announced that I would be getting this job was Billy. He also offered advice and offered to help with my move and transition.”
Bush, Hoover and Morales all worked together in Rio during the Summer Olympics in August.
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