Bill Maher invited former Today and Access Hollywood co-host Billy Bush to Real Time Friday night, calling it the latest chapter in his “rehabilitation for people who should not have been made to go away” series following Kathy Griffin’s appearance the prior week. And while Bush got it easy from Maher and was able to stand to defend himself, the rest of the Real Time panel wasn’t as keen to let the former TV personality walk away unscathed.
In reference to the controversial clip that threatened to derail Trump’s presidential campaign, Bush says he “probably would have just changed the topic” if given another chance on the bus with Trump and claimed that watching him take the presidency while losing his own career was “sh*tty” and defended the moment by noting his main thought was explaining to his bosses “how I lost Trump, the big fish” if he had tried to move away from “kissing butt.”
It’s clearly the type of thing you expect to hear in hindsight, especially when someone seems to be seeking rehabilitation. It also needs to be pointed out that Bush isn’t the villain of the story, but still stands as far less than a saint. It’s something panel members Pete Dominick and former White House adviser Nayyera Haq took time to point out when Bush discussed with the panel following his chat with Maher.
Haq also seemed to take issue with Maher’s weeks of claims about #MeToo and the outrage culture that has grown online. She called the Access Hollywood tape a prime example of what women in the workplace go through all the time, adding that Arianne Zucker was unaware of the discussion that happened on that bus and Bush essentially led her into the situation by playing along with Trump — even if he denies giving the president a Tic-Tac for the occasion. She then adds that more people need that “social courage” to stand up in the moment to hold against racist or sexist comments. And according to The AV Club, Haq bemoans the idea that #MeToo and “Times Up” are out to make men who commit acts go away by saying, “I’m so glad you’re worried about going away. Welcome to the party,” and adding that women who have been abused or treated poorly in the past have been told to that for a very long time.
Dominick agreed with Haq, saying that “every single one of us has to stand up in those moments. That’s the only way it turns around. You could have, you should have, you didn’t and in the future, I hope you will and I hope everybody that saw that and heard that tape knows that is unacceptable.”
To Bush’s credit, he pointed out that the incident was over 13 years ago according to Deadline:
“I grew into myself,” he told Dominick. “I became a different person. Not that I need to convince you.”
It’s a time for a change thanks to #MeToo, but that also doesn’t mean it’s going to come overnight. Billy Bush is a good example and discussion to have because he’s clearly out to show he’s changed, but also represents behavior that people are seeking to delete from society.
(Via Real Time)