Bob Beckel has been dismissed from Fox News after allegations he made a racist comment — the latest in a series of damaging controversies that have caused continued unrest at the right-wing network.
Fox News announced Beckel's firing in a statement obtained by Variety on Friday, a decision attributed to Beckel having made "an insensitive remark to an African-American employee." According to the network, the incident was first reported on Tuesday evening and investigated internally, leading to the decision to dismiss the co-host.
Douglas Wigdor, who is representing the African-American I.T. employee who complained about Beckel, said in a statement that Beckel "stormed out of his office" when the employee came to work on his computer, "telling our client that he was leaving his office because he was black."
According to Wigdor, who represents several other current and former Fox News employees in a racial discrimination lawsuit, the network executives attempted to coerce the employee into withdrawing 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.
UPDATE: Fox News has responded, reaching out to TV Guide with 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."
Beckel was a co-host on The Five, a Fox News program featuring a rotating roundtable of commentators. His firing comes at a time when the network is already in turmoil, as it has repeatedly found itself in legal trouble over claims of sexual harassment, cultural insensitivity, and other offenses. Current and former Fox News employees have filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the network in New York's supreme court, while notable Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was ousted last month after numerous reports surfaced about his inappropriate behavior toward female co-workers.
Beckel had returned to Fox News this year, having parted with the network once before in 2015. Of that incident, Fox News executive vice president Bill Shine said at the time, "He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him."
This time, it's unlikely that Beckel will receive a similar second chance.