Billy Bush doesn’t appear to be exiting NBC without a fight: The 44-year-old Today host has reportedly retained Los Angeles litigator Marshall Grossman to help negotiate his exit from the network.
The lawyer, who repped Erin Andrews in her peephole civil case against the Nashville Marriott, is already threatening to sue NBC if a settlement can’t be reached, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Bush, who was contracted to earn a reported $3 million a year, just joined the third hour of Today in August after working for more than a decade at Access Hollywood.
On Oct. 7, The Washington Post published the contents of a leaked AH tape that revealed Bush and Donald Trump engaging in a lewd discussion about women. Bush can be heard making remarks about an actress and laughing at Trump’s comments, such as, “When you’re a star [women] let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”
Grossman told THR that Bush had no choice but to play along with Trump if he wanted to stay employed at AH. “If Billy had been passive or responded ‘Shut the f— up’ to Trump, Billy would have been out of a job the next day,” Grossman told The Hollywood Reporter.
Bush’s attorney also says that NBC brass were aware of the tape as early as this summer when Bush was covering the Olympics in Rio. (Page Six recently reported that Bush had boasted of its existence while in Brazil). After publication of the leaked taped, NBC released a statement saying it only recently learned of it and was looking to report on it “in the most responsible way.”
As part of the settlement, it’s possible that NBC could include incentives that encourage Bush to keep a low profile — and not join another network — for a period of time. In the meantime, his photograph has already been wiped from a digital billboard for Today in Manhattan.
A representative for Bush could not be reached.