NBC knew about the Access Hollywood tape featuring Republican nominee Donald Trump talking to Billy Bush about grabbing “pussy” for a long time before it was released and held on to it to maximize its impact, TMZ reports Wednesday.
TMZ said multiple sources connected with NBC told them that network executives were upset that Hurricane Matthew hit and were worried it would dominate the news instead of the tape. Staffers wanted it out before Sunday’s presidential debate so they leaked it to The Washington Post.
NBC has claimed to have only known about the tape for about a week before it was released, but TMZ reports that execs knew about it earlier in the election and decided that it was not the right time to release it.
The NBC execs wanted the tape to dominate the airwaves in the 48 hour lead up to Sunday’s debate. Since the tape has been released, Bush has been suspended from his slot on the “Today” show. A source told TMZ, “NBC really screwed Billy. They had no problem with him on the tape ’till it got leaked.”