Bob Beckel, one of the hosts of Fox News‘ 9 p.m. show The Five and one of the network’s liberal voices, will not be on the show tonight or in the future. The 68-year-old Beckel was fired by the network for allegedly making a racist comment towards another Fox News employee.
The network first released a short statement. “Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” a Fox News spokesperson said today.
Douglas Wigdor, whose firm is representing over a dozen clients who have filed a class-action lawsuit against Fox News for racial descrimination, issued a statement to Heavy, claiming that Beckel has made racist comments in the past. The racist comments that got Beckel fired on Friday were spoken about a black IT employee who is now Wigdor’s client.
According to Wigdor, Beckel “stormed out of his office” and told the employee that he was leaving the room because the employee is black. The employee then reported the incident to Chief Human Resources Officer Kevin Lord. Then, Beckel “attempted to intimidate our client and persuade him to withdraw the complaint,” Wigdor claims.
“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. “We also intend on updating Ofcom with these new developments as they may be relevant in their consideration as to whether or not to approve the purchase of Sky.”
A Fox News spokesperson later issued the following statement in response to Wigdor. In it, the network claims that Beckel did not “intimidate” the employee and apologized “minutes after he was terminated.”
“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 first joined Fox News in 2011 to co-host The Five, and remained at the network until June 2015. At the time, he was recovering from back surgery. After a brief tenure at CNN during the 2016 Presidential campaign, he returned to The Five in January 2017. The show originally aired at 5 p.m. ET, but was moved to 9 p.m. ET in April after Bill O’Reilly was fired.
Beckel hosted The Five with Kimberly Guilfoyle, Dana Perino, Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld. Juan Williams, another liberal voice, also appears on The Five. Fox News has yet to name a host to replace Beckel.