Two years after the now-infamous hot mic moment with Donald Trump, former “Today” host Billy Bush is speaking out about accountability and forgiveness.
In 2005, Bush was on a bus with then-”Apprentice” star Donald Trump as he bragged to Bush about groping women while both were unaware that their words were being recorded. In the wake of what’s been called the “grab ‘em by the p----” tape, Bush was fired from his role on “Today.” Soon after, he and his wife of 19 years separated. In an emotional Instagram post on Monday, the star spoke out about what he’s gone through in the two years since his life abruptly changed for the worse.
“Two years ago today, my life went from order to chaos in a dramatic instant. I accounted for my small part, while the President and my employer walked away and still haven’t accounted for their actions,” he began. “These past couple years have been character building to say the least - anxiety attacks, fits of rage, feelings of betrayal and abandonment - and I have concluded that I am NOT extraordinary.”
The caption was put over an image of him wearing spanx from an Oct. 7, 2016 episode of “Today,” just before news of the tape broke. The star went on to discuss that he’s grown from the experience by learning that terrible things can happen to anyone, regardless of their status. As a result, he says he’s learned more empathy, humility and resilience.
“I am grateful to God and my family for true love and support, and to all of you for your kindness.”
While the 46-year-old star was self-reflective, he also gave some advice to those holding people accountable for slight infractions in the digital media age.
“I have an idea. Let’s stop tolerating this escalating war on flaws and the obliteration of people for things we all do. It’s fueled by an activist media and (anti) social media and it’s barbaric,” he concluded. “We are humans and thus fallible. Let’s take better care of each other.”
This isn’t the first time Bush has spoken publicly since losing his career. He previously told People in January that he’s taking responsibility for his role in the incident and the impact it had on American women.
“There is a term for what I did,” Bush said. “It’s called bystander abuse. It says by not doing anything you are endorsing the moment. I have to live with that.”
He also noted that, as a father, he wants to ensure that he’s both learning and teaching the right lessons after what happened.
“I have three daughters,” he told the outlet. “They are going to be in the workplace one day. I want them to be paid equally, I want them to be treated well and when they walk out of a room I don’t want to ever hear anyone talking behind their back in a degrading way.”