According to a new report from People, NBC had planned to edit out Billy Bush’s comments from the explosive video of him gleefully discussing sexual assault with Donald Trump. Now, it’s looking increasingly likely his “temporary” suspension from the network will turn out to be permanent.
But if the People report is true, he could have kept his job security had someone not leaked the whole tape to the Washington Post.
“They could have released the tape and edited him out,” a source reportedly told People in reference to the leak. He or she continued:
“That was the plan — they were trying to approve it and then someone leaked it. That’s what Access Hollywood eventually did and they played it … but it was already out,” the source says and adds, “If they wanted to protect him, they could have edited it out which they did on the final Access piece that aired on Friday, but they left it in when it was leaked.”
The report doesn’t make clear which NBC entity would have been responsible for editing the tape, though the news arm vehemently denies it would have come from them. NBC News Vice President of Communications Mark Kornblau tweeted, “No chance that tape would ever have been edited by @NBCNews. Period,” which still leaves open the possibility Access Hollywood or a higher-up at NBC corporate could have made the edits before passing the video along to the news organization.
But deliberate news manipulation aside, Billy Bush is screwed. “People are saying he can’t recover,” a source tells People, and indeed, he’s already been edited out of Today Show promos.
At last check, Bush’s office voicemail still said he was out “making America great again,” which he should probably change, if he even has access to it anymore...
Update 2:20 p.m.
CNN’s Brian Stelter reports Bush has been officially fired.