Fox News has fired “The Five” co-host Bob Beckel on Friday after he was accused of making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee, TheWrap has confirmed.
A source close to the situation told TheWrap that Fox News human resources was informed of an incident on Tuesday evening, did a through investigation within 48 hours, and made a determination that he had to go immediately.
Beckel was co-host of “The Five” which recently moved to primetime when Bill O’Reilly was fired from the network amid a variety of sexual harassment allegations. The company has since taken drastic measures to improve the internal culture after a series of news-making scandals.
Douglas Wigdor, an attorney representing 23 people in a class-action lawsuit against 21st Century Fox for alleged racial discrimination, said Beckel “stormed out of his office” when an African-American IT employee attempted to fix his computer, leaving the office “because he is black.”
The IT staffer is now represent by Wigdor, who claims Beckel “attempted to intimidate our client and persuade him to withdraw his complaint.”
Wigdor continued: “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.”
A Fox News spokesperson issued 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.”
Fox News recently fired now-former executive Judith Slater after an internal investigation concluded she had engaged in a pattern of racist comments and behavior.
Back in March, Fox News Executive Vice President of Human Resources Kevin Lord ordered all staffers to undergo a one-hour sensitivity training session. “It is critical that everyone attends to ensure that we maintain a professional workplace,” Lord said in an email to employees.
This isn’t the first time Beckel has been fired from Fox News. Back in 2015, he was let go because of “personal issues” after missing an extended period of time while in rehab for an addiction to pain medication.
He originally joined Fox News in 2000 as a contributor and first signed on as a co-host in 2011. His role on “The Five” was essentially to serve as the liberal voice among right-leaning co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle, Jesse Watters, Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino.
Beckel landed at CNN the first time he was fired by Fox News but returned to “The Five” earlier this year when the network considered his “personal issues” to be behind him. Before landing on TV as a liberal pundit, Beckel worked as a political operative and worked at the U.S. State Department from 1977-1980. He was also the national campaign manager for former Vice President Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign.