Billy Bush goes bye-bye
Donald Trump is still hanging tough in the race for the White House, but it looks like the television career of Billy Bush, the other man on the now infamous open-mic video, may be over.
When the open-mic video was recorded in 2005, Bush was working at NBC’s Access Hollywood, a breezy entertainment show devoted to interviews with and gossip about film and television stars. But now he is a regular on NBC’s Today show, a network heavyweight that is locked in a ratings race with ABC’s Good Morning America. Both shows rely heavily on women viewers.
Bush, a first cousin of former president George W. Bush and vanquished 2016 hopeful Jeb Bush, issued a statement on Friday apologizing for his role in the video. “It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along,” he said.
Over the weekend, NBC officials insisted that they had no plans to discipline Bush and that he would address the controversy during Monday’s show. But on Sunday the NBC brass changed course, and decided to suspend Bush. Noah Oppenheim, the executive in charge of Today, sent out a memo to staff announcing the decision.
The quick turnabout at NBC followed a backlash against Bush that took place on social media and elsewhere. Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham helped lead the charge on Sunday with a column in which she said the shocking part of the tape, “the part that has me oscillating between rage and despair,” is the role of enabler played by Bush.
“Men like Trump exist because men like Bush exist. And men like both of them are everywhere,” wrote Abraham, who went on to recount several of her own personal experiences with such men over the years.
The New York Post’s Page Six reported that Bush bragged about the tape to colleagues during NBC’s coverage of the Olympics in Rio, but never brought the tape’s existence to the attention of news staffers. Page Six also reported that women staffers at the Today show were incensed about the video.
With Bush’s career in jeopardy, some of his past colleagues told the Washington Post that they weren’t entirely surprised by the way he acted in the video. He made his career as as a host who mimics what those around him were saying and doing, they said.
“He always let people shine in their own way, whether it was an intern or a musical guest,” said Janet Elliott, who spent five years co-hosting a morning radio program with Bush. “He was definitely on the entertainment side of things, always.”
A study in contrasts: Kevin Cullen says MBTA union chief James O’Brien, who is battling against the privatization of the T’s money room operations, is standing up for a American middle class that is getting decimated. The paper’s editorial page sees things a little differently, arguing that the union leaders are living in “a time warp” in which there’s no accountability, attention to industry standards, or willingness to reform an agency. (Boston Globe)
The Globe reported that state Auditor Suzanne Bump is taking over her late husband’s addiction services business, raising questions about whether her dual posts will create potential conflicts of interest — or whether she may be planning an exit from her state position when her term expires next year. (Boston Globe) Bump issued a statement this morning, however, saying she has already selected a successor president and CEO for the two firms, will have no day-to-day involvement in the businesses, and plans to seek reelection next year. (State House News Service)
A 9-year-old girl is wounded by a stray bullet fired into a playground in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood. (Boston Herald)
Chatham selectmen and other officials have been subpoenaed to testify in a suit by Chatham Bars Inn over a parking lot the restaurant owned and leased to the town that was taken by eminent domain when a new deal couldn’t be reached. (Cape Cod Times)
Harvard’s Oliver Hart and MIT’s Bengt Holmström share the Nobel Prize for economics for their work on contract theory. (Boston Globe)
House Speaker Paul Ryan all but abandons Donald Trump, saying he won’t campaign with him and will focus entirely on protecting Republican members of Congress. (Boston Globe) George Will says Trump keeps on proving that there is no such thing as rock bottom. (Lowell Sun)
Why Trump’s performance in Massachusetts may matter in legislative races. (CommonWealth)
Anita Hill, who knows a thing or two about sexual harassment from a powerful figure, weighs in on Trump’s latest descent. (Boston Globe) Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe pens a devastating response to Trump’s claim that his recorded comments from 2005 were just “locker room talk,” writing, “I was in an NFL locker room for eight years, the very definition of the macho, alpha male environment you’re so feebly trying to evoke to protect yourself, and not once did anyone approach your breathtaking depths of arrogant imbecility.” (Vox) A number of athletes across the spectrum agree, saying the language Trump used is not something they’ve heard in locker rooms over the years, (ESPN)
US Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a staunch Trump supporter, says grabbing a woman’s genitals without consent as described by Trump in the now-infamous open mic video isn’t necessarily sexual assault. (Weekly Standard)
Warren Buffett called Trump’s bluff and released his tax return after the GOP nominee declared in the debate that Buffett and other billionaire supporters of Hillary Clinton took the same write-offs he did to avoid paying taxes. Buffett’s return shows he didn’t. (New York Times)
The Gloucester Times endorses Clinton.
Sen. Eric Lesser and challenger Chip Harrington debate each other, and a key point of contention is Trump. Harrington has denounced Trump, but Lesser questions his sincerity since Harrington’s campaign is sharing office space with Trump’s campaign. (Masslive)
US Sen. Elizabeth Warren calls on Gov. Charlie Baker to issue an all-out denunciation of Trump, not simply say he won’t vote for him. (Boston Herald) Paul Levy says Baker offers a “terrible civics lesson,” particularly for young people, by saying he simply won’t cast a ballot in the presidential contest. (CommonWealth) The Massachusetts GOP is divided on Trump, with some candidates standing by him. (Lowell Sun)
Hacked emails show that Clinton’s campaign worried that Warren might endorse Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries. (Boston Globe) She may strike fear into centrist Dems, but can Warren legislate? Shawn Zeller explores that question in the new fall issue of CommonWealth.
The hacked emails purport to show concern over Benghazi in a message from Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal but were actually excerpts from a story written by Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek that Blumenthal had sent to staffers.
There is growing support among community groups and elected officials in Boston to pass the Community Preservation Act next month, a 1 percent surcharge on property tax bills that supporters want to steer mostly to affordable housing. (Boston Globe)
A first-time homebuyers loan program run by the city of Quincy charged borrowers payback rates far exceeding the amount on the application — in several cases over the state’s definition of usury — when participants sold their homes. (Patriot Ledger)
Plans for expansion of Shoppers World in Framingham have been put on hold after two anchor tenants for the new buildings pulled out. (MetroWest Daily News)
Samsung is discontinuing production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after the revised version continued to have problems with overheating and fires caused by faulty batteries. (New York Times)
The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City shut its doors on Monday, an indication that casino gambling is still on shaky ground as a revenue producer for state and local coffers. (National Review)
Chamberlain International School in Middleborough comes under scrutiny for making $800,000 in payments to entities controlled by the school’s executive director. (WBUR)
Andover is faced with the prospect of three badly deteriorating schools that may need as much as $250 million of work over the next decade. But which school should get help first? (Eagle-Tribune)
The Health Policy Commission now supports the Boston Children’s Hospital expansion, with the protections spearheaded by the Department of Public Health. (Boston Business Journal)
Massachusetts has among the highest rates of hospital readmissions among Medicare patients, a distinction some say could be at least partially driven by the ready availability of hospital beds in the state making it easier for physicians to make that call. (Boston Globe)
At least $700,000 of a $15 million pledge to community health efforts by Boston’s new corporate citizen General Electric will go toward addiction services. (Boston Globe)
Former governor Michael Dukakis, a strong advocate for trains, told a Taunton forum that the South Coast Rail project should stick with running through Stoughton, disputing a spiraling cost estimate by the state that has spawned a proposed alternative route through Middleboro. (Standard-Times)
Researchers tagged the 100th great white shark off Cape Cod, a number that even surprises scientists. (Cape Cod Times)
A new study has determined human-caused climate change is responsible for the dryness of western US forests and the increased length and intensity of the fire season. (New York Times)
What’s the right thing to do with 18-year-old Timothy McManus, who was caught with a gun but had no record of criminal convictions? (CommonWealth)
One of the two Palm Springs, California, police officers killed responding to a domestic violence call is remembered by his nephew, Andrew Vega, a Boston school principal who says his uncle was his inspiration to pursue public service. (Boston Herald)
The Atlantic names one of its correspondents, Jeffrey Goldberg, as its editor. (New York Times)SPORTS
Hub bids Papi adieu: Red Sox father figure David Ortiz has a real final farewell, along with his teammates. (Boston Globe)