Billy Bush, the lightweight entertainment journalist who was promoted to a job at the Today Show in August, only to be a suspended and possibly fired over his role in the hideously disturbing tape revealing how Donald Trump thinks he can grab women by their genitals because he's famous, is going on the offensive. Now Bush has hired a "fierce" lawyer to represent him in his battle with NBC.
Back in 2005, Bush was accompanying Trump for a segment on Access Hollywood (the entertainment news program Bush worked on before Today), because Trump was promoting his reality show, The Apprentice, and taping a cameo on the soap opera Days of Our Lives (Access Hollywood, The Apprentice, Today and Days of Our Lives are owned by NBC). After filming a part of the interview, Trump and Bush waited on the bus to meet a Days actress and, still on a bus, chatted with the microphones still recording.
The Hollywood Reporter reports, "Marshall Grossman, one of Los Angeles' fiercest and most well-respected attorneys, has joined Bush's team, suggesting the anchor is ready to litigate against NBC if the network can't reach a deal with its former rising star. Grossman, who has represented Erin Andrews in her peephole case and Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood in other matters, declined to comment on the status of the negotiation. But he defends his client's role in the Trump tape, in which Bush is heard laughing and encouraging the now-GOP presidential nominee as Trump made misogynistic and predatory comments about women."
"If Billy had been passive or responded 'Shut the f— up' to Trump, Billy would have been out of a job the next day," Grossman argued, describing the beleaguered Bush as "an NBCUniversal employee interviewing an NBC star in The Apprentice's Trump, so he wasn't exactly in a position to challenge his interview subject."
Has Grossman heard the tape? During that 2005 exchange, Trump brags about trying to "fuck" Bush's then-colleague Nancy O'Dell ("I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married") to which Bush gushes, "That's huge news!" When Bush sees actress Arianne Zucker, he excitedly says she's "hot as s--t. In the purple. Whoa, the Donald is good! Whoa, my man!... The Donald scores!"
Trump happily announces, "I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything." Bush, says, "Whatever you want," to which Trump agrees, "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." Bush laughs heartily.
"All I can see is the legs," Bush admires, and Trump agrees, "Oh, it looks good." Then, when they finally greet Zucker, Bush tells her, "How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus" and then says, "How about a little hug for the Bushy?"
Sure, no one was expecting Bush to say, "Shut the fuck up," but he could have possibly not cackled along merrily and probably just changed the conversation to, after Trump discussed O'Dell, Trump's new marriage—he married Melania that year. "Hey, man, now you've got Melania—you don't need to move on married ladies!" Seriously, anything else.
Bush has apologized for his behavior. Various reports suggest that female staffers on Today do not want to work with him.