After announcing the suspension of Billy Bush on Oct. 9, a rep for NBC, which produces both Access Hollywood and Today, claimed the network was aware of the tape and even planned to release a story about it before it was scooped.
However, In Touch has learned that the story the network is telling is a distortion — and insiders tell the mag that Access’ executive producer, Rob Silverstein, wanted it covered up to protect Billy.
“The tape sat on Rob’s desk for over a week. Rob is Billy’s BFF,” a network insider divulges.
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When Access did end up running a story about the tape — only because The Washington Post broke the news — they edited it to leave out some of Billy’s disgusting statements.
Billy apologized, blaming immaturity (he was 33 at the time), but sources tell In Touch that this wasn’t isolated behavior.
“Billy would make comments about women’s bodies in front of other staffers,” says an Access source. “He’d get very flirty and be overtly sexual; it was uncomfortable.”
Nancy left the toxic environment in 2009 “because of the frat boy atmosphere between Billy and Rob,” says the network insider. And with Rob in a position of power, says a second Access source, “No one was calling them out on this behavior.”
His former Access co-anchor Shaun Robinson described their workplace as having a “boys’ club” culture.
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“Both Billy and Rob are facing the ax,” adds the network insider. “A lot of fans, staff and hosts on Today don’t ever want to see Billy as part of the show again. This was the final nail in his coffin.”
For more on this, pick up the latest issue of In Touch, on newsstands now!