When Tanika Ray, the longtime co-host of Extra, learned that Billy Bush would be returning to the show, she says her jaw dropped.
That’s because Bush, the TV personality who appeared alongside President Donald Trump in that infamous 2005 Access Hollywood video — the one in which the then-candidate talked about grabbing women’s private parts — was fired from his job as a co-host of Today after the tape was released, in Oct. 2016.
But Bush landed a gig hosting another show — an update of Extra called Extra Extra (since changed back to Extra) that premiered in September.
“Only in America. I think that we live in a country where it’s been proven time and time again, that privilege is real,” Ray, no longer with Extra, told Urban Hollywood 411. “He can make a comeback. Whereas one of my co-hosts, A.J. Calloway, he was allegedly involved in some sexual scandal. It’s never been proven, but he will never work in TV again. But that’s America, isn’t it? And once we understand the reality of it, we can move to changing that. But sure, he [Bush] can get another chance. That’s sort of the world we live in.”
Calloway, who is black, worked at Extra for 14 years until he was suspended in February — after multiple women brought sexual assault allegations against him. He was immediately suspended from the show while Warner Bros. Television, the company behind Extra, investigated. While Calloway said he’d done nothing wrong, he left the network, reportedly by mutual decision, in July.
Ray, who worked at Extra from 2004 to 2009 and returned in 2017, left the show last month. She said that she’d been unsure about her future there for months, following the staffing shakeup, although a senior executive producer told Urban Hollywood 411 that she had plenty of notice. Still, Ray said she needed a more secure job. (The producer, Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, said Ray is still welcome to contribute to the show occasionally.)
Another source connected to show said, “Tanika’s claims are unfounded. It’s unfortunate that she made this personal when the decision for her not to return to the show was not.”
Ray did not immediately reply to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.
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