Following the release of 2005 audio featuring GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women "by the pussy" to Today personality Billy Bush, the former Access Hollywood host is reportedly in the process of being permanently removed from the NBC family. However, according to a report from TMZ on Wednesday, Bush feels he's nothing more than a "scapegoat" for the network amidst a massive PR crisis.
Sources linked to Bush's Access Hollywood days tell TMZ that "Bush and others" would openly trade offensive remarks about women, with some of those comments reportedly existing on tape. Some of the comments, these sources claim, include "You look hot today" and "Look at her legs." Bush was reportedly "particularly impressed" with Taylor Swift and Gigi Hadid.
The higher-ups at NBC, however, allegedly had no problem with these remarks—including those uncovered in the 2005 Trump audio—until the PR problems started piling up last week. "His bosses had no problem with Billy's offhanded remarks about women…for years," TMZ reported.
A separate report from CNN's Brian Stelter on Tuesday said an announcement from NBC regarding Bush’s permanent departure was simply a matter of time, noting that he's "effectively already gone." The network, however, has only spoken publicly to announce his initial suspension immediately following the leaked Trump tape. "I know we've all been deeply troubled by the revelations of the past 48 hours," Today boss Noah Oppenheim said in a statement Monday. "Let me be clear—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."