The existence of the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape was common knowledge at NBC, according to Billy Bush.
In a tease for Gayle King’s sit-down interview with Bush for CBS, he says “everyone” at the Peacock network knew about the vulgar recording and assured him it wouldn’t be a problem.
“You knew there was a tape,” King says in the interview.
“Everybody did,” responds Bush, the new host of syndicated entertainment show “Extra Extra.”
“I didn’t,” jokes King.
“Oh, well everybody at the network,” Bush answers. “I was comfortable it wasn’t going to be weaponized.”
Bush said he was assured his job was safe following the October 2016 release of the 2005 tape, in which Bush engages with now-President Donald Trump as he’s heard bragging he could “grab” women by the “p—y.”
“I was told that, ‘You’re good. Don’t worry about it. It’s not you. You didn’t say anything,’” Bush recalls.
Two days later, he was fired from the “Today” show.
“Remember, it was — it was leaked on a Friday,” Bush says. “And then Sunday morning, I walked out that door, right over there, with my bags to go back to work. And the driver said, ‘I’m sorry, they’ve canceled the car.’ I said, ‘Oh, that must be a mistake.’
“Called my lawyer and I said ‘Uh are we OK?’ ‘Nope.’”
Multiple sources later exclusively told Page Six that a “Today” show staffer leaked the tape to not only try to derail Trump’s run for office but also appease then-host Matt Lauer, who “didn’t like” Bush but later got axed himself over sexual misconduct allegations.
“The leaked tape served a dual purpose: It helped get Bush out of the way — Matt Lauer didn’t like him and felt he was a liability — and NBC thought it would derail Trump,” said a source.
“But all it did was crush Billy, and, ironically, his own network was behind it.”
Bush’s full interview with King airs Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.”
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