Billy Bush is reportedly out at NBC, reports CNN’s Brian Stelter, with the affable, go-along-to-grope-along Today host joining the vast debris of collateral damage from that recently leaked audio of Donald Trump, his TV career littered there alongside Trump’s campaign, the Republican Party, our collective memory of a political system that doesn’t feel like a drunk couple’s 3 a.m. screaming match in the back-alley of a shots bar, etc. Like so much in this, our year of being helplessly crushed by the weight of inevitability, Bush’s firing is a matter of “when,” not “if.” His official exit from the morning show is expected to be announced “in the coming days,” according to two separate, anonymous sources, following the suspension he’s been on since Sunday. Already, he’s been symbolically expunged from Today’s promos.
It’s a rapid fall from the-opposite-of-grace for Bush, who only recently oozed his way onto NBC’s morning team after years of sucking up to celebrities on Access Hollywood. There, this scion of America’s greatest family of second bananas distinguished himself as a real famous-guy’s guy—and, as John Oliver recently reminded us, for asking women about their butts. Naturally, he was considered marked for bigger, grander things, like one day maybe replacing Matt Lauer.
But of course, that all ended with Friday’s leak of the now-infamous tape where Trump bragged of how celebrity puts the world’s vaginas within his miniscule grasp, while Bush cackled like the library-streaking lacrosse team captain on permanent spring break at Senor Frog’s that he is. After initially brushing off this regular old jocular, locker-room banter over sexual assault, NBC finally acknowledged the growing outcry—as well as its own female staffers—and formally announced Bush’s suspension, “pending further review.” That review, which presumably consisted of watching as the tape played on a constant, Zapruder film loop on CNN all week, has now apparently concluded.
Making his dismissal easier on the network, CNN suggests, is the fact that Bush is relatively new to Today, having only joined the show in August as a replacement for Willie Geist. It also doesn’t hurt that—in addition to the enabling of disgusting, misogynistic behavior from the orange Tic Tac currently lodged in America’s windpipe—Bush maybe committed some corporate malfeasance as well, with The New York Post saying he’d “bragged” about the tape’s existence while he was down in Rio, doing a shitty job of calling Ryan Lochte out on his own entitled frat-bro behavior. And in addition to possibly leading to the tape’s discovery in the first place, the Post suggests it could be a violation of his contract that he didn’t disclose its existence to NBC, who has now been forced to go through the motions of pretending to be shocked that it might have footage of Trump behaving in a way unbecoming the presidency.
Like Trump, Bush issued an apology on Friday, saying he was “embarrassed and ashamed, and blaming his actions on being a much “younger, less mature” man of 33. Page Six reports that he’s since been searching for a “high-power fixer” in the Olivia Pope/Ray Donovan mold to help him save what has been branded a “radioactive career,” with People adding he is “absolutely devastated” that he may never recover from this. At least, until the day he slides onto the couch at Fox & Friends.
In related news, Donald Trump is still a candidate for President of the United States.