(Adds reports of settlement details, Melania Trump's Monday
By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES Oct 17 U.S. television host Billy
Bush is leaving the "Today" show, NBC said on Monday, after a
2005 video surfaced in which he and Republican presidential
candidate Donald Trump made lewd comments about women.
Bush, 45, was suspended from hosting duties on NBC's
flagship morning show after tape came to light 10 days ago. In
it, Bush laughed and bantered as Trump, then star of the
"Apprentice" reality TV show, boasted about kissing and groping
women without their permission and trying to seduce a married
NBC said in a statement, "While he was a new member of the
'Today' team, he was a valued colleague and longtime member of
the broader NBC family. We wish him success as he goes forward."
Bush said in a statement that he was "deeply grateful for
the conversations I've had with my daughters, and for all of the
support from family, friends and colleagues."
"I look forward to what lies ahead," he added.
Bush's attorney, Marshall Grossman, said Bush's settlement
with NBC did not include any non-compete restrictions and that
Bush was "free to do whatever he wishes to do professionally."
He declined to reveal the financial terms of the settlement,
citing confidentiality. Grossman had said last week that news
reports of a potential $10 million settlement were false.
Bush, a cousin of former U.S. President George W. Bush,
became one of the co-hosts of the "Today" show in August. The
morning show is one of NBC's most lucrative properties and
boasts a large female viewership.
Trump's wife, Melania Trump, in a interview with CNN that
aired on Monday night, defended her husband over the tape. She
accused Bush of provoking Trump and said he was "led on - like,
egged on - from the host to say dirty and bad stuff."
In 2005, Bush and Trump were wearing live microphones as
they arrived on set to film a segment for "Access Hollywood," a
celebrity and entertainment news program that Bush hosted at the
time and is also part of the NBC group.
Bush apologized on Oct. 7, saying he was "embarrassed and
ashamed" by his behavior, and NBC announced it was suspending
him from "Today."
Noah Oppenheim, the executive in charge of "Today" had
written in a memo to staff that "there is simply no excuse for
Billy's language and behavior on that tape."
The married woman discussed in the conversation has since
been identified as Bush's "Access Hollywood" co-host Nancy
Last week, O'Dell said that there is "no room for
objectification of women, or anyone for that matter, not even in
the locker room."
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy and Jill Serjeant; Editing by