Bob Beckel has been fired by Fox News Channel.
The controversial co-host of The Five was let go on Friday morning for saying something wholly inappropriate to a colleague.
No outlet appears to have a record of what Beckel actually said (the incident took place off-air), but it was enough for Fox News to issue the following statement just a short while ago:
“Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee.”
Beckel, a veteran political consultant and former campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, joined Fox News in 2000.
He was one of the original panelists on The Five back when it aired in the afternoon, but he departed in 2015 while recuperating from back surgery in a split that was seen as less an amicable.
Way less than amicable.
Consider the statement at the time from Bill Shine, the network’s Executive Vice President of Programming:
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.
That’s a pretty scathing thing to say about someone on his way out the door, no?
And yet… Beckel was brought back this past January after a stint at CNN.
“Bob was missed by many fans of ‘The Five’ and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News Channel and its corporate parent, 21st Century Fox, in a prepared statement a few months ago.
On Tuesday night, however, the company’s human resource department was made aware of a complaint made by an employee over something Beckel said.
Executives conducted an internal investigation soon afterward and decided to part ways with Beckel on Friday morning.
The move comes during an especially tumultuous time for Fox News.
Just a few weeks ago, Bill O’Reilly was forced out after the network felt pressure from the public and from advertisers to drop the anchor in light of his past sexual misconduct.
Then, on Thursday, Roger Ailes died at the age of 77.
He hadn’t worked at the network for about a year after he was also forced out for his own past of sexual misconduct… but still.
There’s a been a great deal of turnover at Fox News over the past several months.
Just 24 hours ago, Beckel wrote the following in response to Ailes passing away:
He’s yet to comment on his own ousting.
Knowing Bob Beckel, however, he won’t stay silent for very long.
UPDATE: Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen, attorneys in charge of a growing racial discrimination lawsuit filed by current and former Fox employees, said that Beckel told one of their clients, an African-America IT worker, that he was leaving the office while the employee serviced his computer …
… because the employee is black.
When the IT worker filed a complaint, Beckel attempted to intimidate him to withdraw it.
This is what led to his firing.