Billy Bush may or may not sue NBC after he loses his job at The Today Show.
According to multiple sources, the disgraced television host is deep into negotiations on some kind of buyout with executives.
The program clearly has no choice but to part ways with Bush, following the release of a damning video last week, but it’s now become clear that Bush won’t go away quietly.
The 44-year-old Today anchor – who joined the morning show in August – has reportedly retained Los Angeles litigator Marshall Grossman to help negotiate his departure from the network.
It comes on the heels of footage from 2005 that was obtained by The Washington Post last week and which went viral last Friday.
It features Bush and Donald Trump on board an Access Hollywood bus, headed over to the set of Days of Our Lives, so that The Donald could film a cameo opposite Arianne Zucker.
On the way over, Trump tells Bush that he can "grab" the "pussy" of any woman he finds attractive because he’s a "star" who can "get away with anything."
Upon spotting Zucker, Bush informs Trump that the actress is "hot as shit," proceeding to say "The Donald has scored."
He then requests a hug from Zucker once the stars get off the bus; first for Trump and then for himself.
It’s all rather disgusting, an inside look at male celebrities talking about women and then treating women as if they are a piece of property.
But Grossman tells The Hollywood Reporter that Bush had no choice but to play along with Trump.
His job was on the line, argues the attorney.
"If Billy had been passive or responded ‘Shut the f-ck up’ to Trump, Billy would have been out of a job the next day,” Grossman told the publication on Thursday.
Fair enough… maybe.
It’s important to remember that this incident did not take place on air.
It was private conversation between two men who were unaware their microphones were on.
Therefore, it’s pretty hard to imagine that Bush would have been fired for simply remaining quiet while Trump prattled on like a sexual predator.
Bush’s lawyer also says that NBC brass were aware of the video as early as this summer when Bush was covering the Olympics in Rio.
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."
So there may be some shady stuff going on behind the scenes at the network that employed Trump for many years as host of The Apprentice and then even invited him to host Saturday Night Live last year.
We have no doubt that is possible.
But the idea that Bush had no choice but to egg Trump on and laugh like a hyena at his sexist remarks is ridiculous.
In the meantime, as part of the settlement, it’s conceivable that NBC could include incentives that encourage Bush to keep a low profile – that is, not join another network – for a period of time.
Until then, his photograph has already been wiped from a digital billboard for Today in Manhattan.
He’s as good as gone.
Wanna bet he’ll next turn up on the "news" network Trump will undoubtedly start after he loses the election on November 8?