Billy Bush may be about to lose his gig on “Today” — but if the public reactions are any indication, he long ago lost the respect of Hollywood P.R. veterans.
The former “Access Hollywood” co-host who is currently embroiled in scandal over a leaked 2005 video featuring sexist talk with Donald Trump — “was rude and lewd to a few female clients of mine,” veteran publicist Marcel Pariseau wrote on Facebook. Pariseau also revealed that he was “boycotting the 9 a.m. hour of the ‘Today’ show,” where Bush worked until this week (officially, he’s on suspension and Carson Daly is filling in).
Bumble Ward, who represents a number of prominent directors, wrote on Facebook this week of Bush: “At last year’s Oscars, he was the only interviewer who was downright dismissive of my asking him, very politely, and before the rush of celebrities hit him, whether he’d like to speak to my director client. He actually turned away with a roll of the eyes.”
Another PR veteran, Kathleen McInnis, chimed in with thanks to Ward for outing Billy Bush as a jerk. “Karma’s a bitch,” she wrote on Facebook. “#publicistsunite #benice.”
The negative reaction from PR veterans — who usually go out of their way to avoid attacking anyone or becoming part of the story themselves — may help explain why NBC is reportedly negotiating to give Bush the ax just days after the 2005 tape surfaced.
Morning shows like “Today” are locked in a never-ending war over ratings, and regular access to celebrities is vital to bookers who are always looking for big “gets.” So someone who has stepped on a lot of publicists’ toes could easily become a major liability.
That’s a TV reality that Bush may have a long time to think about.