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“Extra” is standing by Billy Bush after a leaked audio clip where he jokes about being attracted to socialite Kendall Jenner.
Friday, the Daily Beast published audio of Bush discussing Jenner’s Halloween costume with production staffers during the Oct. 31 taping of “Extra.” He asks staffers the name of the “Toy Story” character she was dressed up as, information he needed to complete his joke:
“Kendall goes as Jessie and, believe me, there were a lot of woodies,” says Bush to the laughter of multiple voices.
In a surprising turn of events, the show did not denounce the comment as crude or inappropriate. Rather, a spokesperson defended Bush, focusing on the unauthorized leak.
“As with many forms of production in the entertainment industry, the show’s creative process allows the flexibility to try different jokes and banter. In the end, some material lands on the cutting room floor, including remarks that may be too edgy to air on broadcast television,” “A Telepictures representative told Variety.
Media brands rarely show such backbone. Often, they jump toward an apology, beg the press for forgiveness, and bury the target of the leak.
Cancel culture would not exist in its current form if more entertainment executives could merely stomach 36 hours of mean tweets and blog posts.
Unfortunately, most cannot. Hence why people are fired amid the most baseless streams of outrage.
Thereby it’s refreshing to see “Extra” play by a different set of rules, a set that honors common sense.
Moreover, the brand is right to pivot its attention toward the actual leaker.
Bush’s comment is hardly offensive. Thinking Kendall Jenner is hot is not a thought crime. At least it shouldn’t be. And based on the audio tape, the joke went over quite well with the crowd.
(The latter is critical.)
By contrast, the leak was malicious. Some distressed schmuck went out of their way to release audio of Bush to a left-wing outlet with an intent to hurt him, to cost him his job.
“Extra” finding the leaker and firing them could be an amusing outcome.
Still, the mark isn’t the only leaker who used privately recorded audio to try and destroy Billy Bush. In 2016, an “Access Hollywood” clip emerged where Donald Trump told Bush that “when you’re a star … you can grab [women] by the p*ssy.”
The recording was from 2005 but leaked weeks before the 2016 presidential election. Ultimately, the clip didn’t ding Trump; he defeated Hilliary Clinton. But it cost Bush his job on NBC’s “Today.”
Someone had hoped to see “Extra” act as swiftly as NBC, and fire Billy Bush accordingly.
As of now, it’s business as usual.