Nancy O’Dell returned to work today after being thrust into the political spotlight last week.
The “Entertainment Tonight” host addressed her viewers on tonight’s show, reiterating that everybody deserves respect.
Last Friday, an 11-year-old recording of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women surfaced. At one point, Trump speaks about a married woman, who was identified by “Access Hollywood” as O’Dell, then a co-host of the program.
“As a journalist for 26 years now, it is my job to bring you news about others, rather than turning the focus on myself. But by now, I’m sure that most of you have heard the audiotape which became national news and part of the presidential race. My name was mentioned, and unfortunately, the release of it has thrown me into the middle of the political arena, of which I didn’t ask to be a part,” she said. “I released a statement on Saturday, and I truly mean what I said. There is no room for objectification of women — or anybody, for that matter, not even in the ‘locker room.'”
In the recording, which was revealed by The Washington Post, Trump, now 70, is heard telling Billy Bush, then a co-host of “Access Hollywood,” that he came on to O’Dell but he “couldn’t get there.”
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump says. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it … You can do anything.”
“Whatever you want,” Bush responds.
“Grab them by the p—-,” Trump continues. “You can do anything.”
O’Dell said she was “saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all.”
“When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change, because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect, no matter the setting or gender,” she said. “As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that, as a society, we will always strive to be better.”
Trump issued an apology for his comments and said they “don’t reflect who I am.” He called the conversation “locker room banter” and claimed, “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on a golf course.”
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” Trump said. “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more-than-a-decade-old video are one of them.”
According to The Associated Press, NBC has suspended Bush, who joined “Today” this summer.
“Obviously, I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry,” Bush told Politico in a statement.