Another member of the Fox News team has left the network on bad terms. Bob Beckel, a co-host on “The Five,” was fired on Friday after allegedly making a racist remark to a fellow employee.
“Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” the Fox News Channel said in a statement.
According to Variety, a person familiar with the situation explained Beckel made a “racially insensitive remark” before human resources got involved on Tuesday night. Executives reportedly conducted an internal investigation and ultimately decided to end his role with the network.
Update: Douglas H. Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen of Wigdor LLP, attorneys representing the African-American employee, said in a statement, “Mr. Beckel stormed out of his office when our client, a black IT employee, came to service his computer, telling our client that he was leaving his office because he is black.”
They further claim Beckel attempted to convince their client to drop the complaint, while Fox News’ chief human resources officer, Kevin Lord, “was present and permitted this to happen, which is completely outrageous as they were clearly trying to intimidate our client and sweep this under the rug.”
A Fox News spokesperson issued a statement in response: “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.”
The firing comes as Fox News continues to fall under intense scrutiny. Bill O’Reilly left the network after The New York Times reported he and the company paid $13 million to keep sexual harassment allegations under wraps. The recently deceased Roger Ailes, former chairman and CEO, left the network last year after similar harassment accusations, including from ex-Fox News hosts Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly.
Beckel, one of the original co-hosts of The Five and a more liberal voice on the panel, left Fox News in 2015 while recovering from back surgery. Bill Shine, then the senior executive vice president of programming, described the departure in a statement, “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.”
After a stint on CNN, Beckel returned to Fox News earlier this year.