Billy Bush a wreck over leaked Donald Trump tape, source says
Just days after footage surfaced of Donald Trump and Billy Bush making lewd comments about women in 2005, a source tells PEOPLE that the Today show co-host “can’t recover” from the leaked video.
Despite apologizing hours after the Washington Post published a video that captured Trump making sexual comments alongside Bush about Nancy O’Dell and Arianne Zucker on board an Access Hollywood bus, the damage may be irreparable for the co-host.
Although there is no confirmation as to who leaked the footage, the source tells PEOPLE that it was both “purposeful” and “not a low-level leak.”
“They could have released the tape and edited him out,” the source says of the individual that leaked the footage. “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.”
In the three days since the 11-year-old footage surfaced, the source tells PEOPLE that Bush is “a wreck” and is “absolutely devastated.”
On Friday, Bush said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago – I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
A show source previously told PEOPLE that the morning show could have a “mutiny” on its hands from its female staffers if Bush wasn’t disciplined in some way.
“I don’t want to see him again,” the source said. “And I think there are a lot of women who feel the same way … I know this will have to be addressed by the producers and NBC. It has to be, or else they’ll have a mutiny on their hands.”