Bob Beckel, the co-host of The Five on the Fox News Channel, was fired today.
In a statement, FNC explained that “Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” Variety reported. After becoming aware of the incident Tuesday evening, Fox News conducted an internal investigation over the racially insensitive remark allegation and made the decision this morning to give Beckel a pink slip.
This is the second time that Fox News has parted ways with political strategist Bob Beckel.
Sometime on or after February of 2015, Beckel went on leave for major back surgery and subsequently went into rehab for an addiction to pain pills, Mediaite noted in April of 2015.
On June 25, 2015, former Fox executive Bill Shine explained, “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues. He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him. Juan Williams and Geraldo Rivera will be among those rotating on the show for the near future.”
A liberal Democrat and a strong Obama supporter and Donald Trump foe, Bob Beckel had previously gotten himself in trouble for some racially charged comments and swearing on the air during The Five’s telecasts. A former official at the U.S. State Department in the Carter administration, the suspenders-wearing Beckel managed Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign to a 49-state loss to Ronald Reagan.
— johnny dollar (@johnnydollar01) May 19, 2017
The alleged racial incident that led to the departure of Bob Beckel involved an IT worker at FNC, Variety added.
“Douglas Wigdor, an attorney who represents several current and former employees who have alleged racial discrimination at Fox News in a lawsuit, said he is representing the employee who complained about Beckel. In a statement, Wigdor alleged Beckel ‘stormed out of his office’ when an African-American information-technology employee came to service his computer, ‘telling our client that he was leaving his office because he was black.'”
The Inquisitr received the following statement from a Fox News spokesperson regarding Bob Beckel’s firing.
“As Mr. Wigdor knows, Fox News made the decision to terminate Mr. Beckel after a prompt and thorough investigation. His client raised the complaint to Kevin Lord, EVP Human Resources, on Tuesday evening via email and within 7 minutes Mr. Lord responded and began the investigation. Today, Fox News delivered that message to Mr. Beckel and facilitated an apology from Mr. Beckel to the employee minutes after he was terminated. No one tried to persuade Mr. Wigdor’s client to withdraw his complaint.”
Beckel was one of the original co-hosts of The Five, which took over the Glenn Beck time slot starting on July 11, 2011. The political roundtable was supposed to only be a temporary placeholder but wound up becoming a big ratings success and a permanent part of the schedule.
Beckel worked for CNN during the 2016 election season, predicting a Hillary Clinton landslide and, to much hoopla (see clip below), returned to FNC and The Five in January of 2017, resuming his role as the show’s resident curmudgeon and unlikely fan favorite for at least some in the conservative-leaning audience. For others among the viewership, Bob Beckel’s turn to speak on The Five caused them to reach for their clicker.
The Five moved from 5 p.m. Eastern to 9 p.m. after the schedule shakeup following Bill O’Reilly’s departure and the cancellation of The O’Reilly Factor. The show has lost some of its ratings momentum as a result of the move to primetime, however.
Becket has primarily alternated with Juan Williams in what amounts to the liberal chair on The Five, and apparently, Williams will get the majority of the airtime now. However, Williams is based in D.C., which suggests that others will also appear in that role.
The Five regulars are Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino, and Jesse Watters.
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Watters took over the center chair from longtime Five co-host Eric Bolling, who stayed behind at 5 p.m. as co-host of a new show called the Fox News Specialists.
— Variety (@Variety) May 19, 2017
“In 2002, Beckel resigned as the manager of Alan Blinken’s campaign for United States Senate in Idaho after being targeted for extortion by a prostitute, an incident he alluded to on Thursday while remembering former Fox News executive Roger Ailes,” the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News recalled.
15 yrs ago I was out of work after fake scandal Roger Ailes gave me work a great man with a big heart may he now Rest In Peace
— Robert G Beckel (@RobertGBeckel) May 18, 2017
Beckel’s Twitter feed thus far contains no reference to his termination.
This is a developing story. Watch this space for updates on the Fox News firing of Bob Beckel.
[Featured Image by Noam Galai/Getty Images]