Bob Beckel, a co-host of the popular Fox News evening program The Five, was fired by the network on Friday. The dominant, conservative-leaning channel — whose ratings have since slipped due to its apparent unwillingness to cover Donald Trump’s many scandals in-depth — previously let him go in 2015 due to “health and personal reasons.” They brought him back just before Trump’s inauguration in January, but their reconciliation didn’t last long. Why? Because, as a statement released by Fox News explained, Beckel “was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee.”
The network was slapped with a racial discrimination lawsuit back in March, in which plaintiffs Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright alleged comptroller Judith Slater made racist comments toward them. According to Variety, Douglas Wigdor — the attorney representing Brown, Wright and others with similar claims — is also serving as counsel for the subject of Beckel’s firing:
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.” Wigdor alleged Fox News executives tried to get the employee to withdraw the complaint. “As with our other 22 clients, we intend on holding 21st Century Fox accountable for these actions and will be filing multiple other complaints in other matters next week,” Wigdor said.
The sudden change couldn’t come at a worse time for Fox News, for aside from their declining ratings, they just endured as massive shakeup following juggernaut Bill O’Reilly’s firing. Tucker Carlson took over the ousted O’Reilly Factor host’s prime-time slot after filling in briefly for former network star Megyn Kelly, who absconded to NBC in early January.
Though in Tucker’s defense, at least he’s helping Fox News churn out some high quality GIFs.
A Fox News spokesperson has released the following statement:
“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.”