Billy Bush, former host of NBC’s “Access Hollywood” and cohost of the “Today” show, has broken his silence about the infamous 2005 tape of an “Access Hollywood” segment in which Bush and Donald Trump made derogatory comments about women.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Bush said watching the footage left him “totally and completely gutted.”
“Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic,” Bush said. “[Trump] liked TV and competition. I could’ve said, ‘Can you believe the ratings on whatever?’ But I didn’t have the strength of character to do it.”
Bush told THR that he’s seen the “Access Hollywood” footage only three times: once three days before the footage was revealed back in October while Trump was running for president, and two more times before being interviewed by THR. However, he said he knew of the tape’s existence for a long time and that “plenty of people” and NBC knew of it as well.
The three-minute tape features Bush, then a host on “Access Hollywood,” and Trump speaking aboard a bus headed to the set of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” for a segment about Trump’s appearance on the show.
While inside the bus, Bush can be heard calling the actress that Trump will be shooting his scene with, Arianne Zucker, “hot as s—” as she walks toward the bus.
“I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her,” Trump said. “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.”
“Whatever you want,” Bush said.
“Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything,” Trump said.
After the video was released, Bush was quickly suspended by NBC and later fired. Trump called the comments “locker room banter” and went on to win the presidency.
Bush said he’s currently developing a series.
“I am not grateful for the moment,” Bush said. “But I’m grateful for what I’ve gotten out of it. I’m grateful that it hit me all the way to my core.”