NBC has suspended Today show co-host Billy Bush after he was caught joking about sexual assault with Donald Trump in 2005.
Though Trump has been the focus of the controversy since a recording of the conversation emerged on Friday, Bush’s encouragement of the vulgar conversation has not gone unnoticed. In the video, when the Republican presidential candidate boasts about using his celebrity to force himself on women, Bush laughs heartily and encourages the conversation. At one point, he says of a woman: “Your girl’s hot as shit,” adding, “Yes, the Donald has scored!”
After the video emerged, Bush swiftly deleted his Twitter account, possibly to ward off the onslaught of criticism social media would undoubtedly unleash on him. The 44-year-old issued a statement the day of the leak, saying he was “embarrassed and ashamed” of the incident. “I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along,” he said.
In a situation that Trump tried to pass off as “locker room banter,” Bush comes across as a giggly sidekick, especially when he asks the woman in question to hug both him and Trump, right after they’ve made derogatory comments in private. Most people would argue that’s a step further than just playing along.
While NBC mulls Bush’s ultimate fate, the Twitterverse is calling on the network to #FireBillyBush. “Here is hoping no one talks about your daughter the way you and Trump talked about women on that bus,” one commentator wrote on his Bush’s official Facebook page, where outraged viewers who were disgusted by his conduct have inundated the comments section with insults like “pig” and “scumbag.”