NBC has told "Today" co-anchor Billy Bush to take a break from the morning show following public outrage over his participation in sexist banter with Donald Trump in a 2005 tape that was released over the weekend, The Los Angeles Times reported.
NBC confirmed to the paper Bush will not appear on the show Monday, and it remains uncertain how long he will be off the show, if he returns at all.
The original plan had been for Bush, who was a host for "Access Hollywood" at the time the tape was made, to appear as usual on the "Today" show Monday and issue an apology for his conduct.
People had earlier reported Bush, who is a nephew of former President George H.W. Bush, would not be fired from "Today" and a source close to the show told People: "There have been no discussions of any type of disciplinary action."
However, the situation appears to be very fluid and uncertain due to an outcry from many in the public against Bush's part in the lewd conversation, especially from women, who make up a large segment of the "Today" show's viewership.
Bush issued an apology to "Variety" just several hours after the release of the tape Friday, saying. "Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed. It's no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry."
In an additional peculiarity to the entire episode, The New York Times reported when it called Bush's office line at NBC, a voice mail message, apparently made by an assistant, said "You've reached Billy Bush's office. He's busy making America great again."
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