Fox News announced today that it has fired Bob Beckel, the cranky liberal pundit who frequently jousted with conservative co-hosts on “The Five.”
“Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” the channel said in a brief statement.
This was the second time that Beckel has been forced out at Fox News. In 2015, he was fired after he became addicted to painkillers following a back surgery. He was off the air for several months before network officials said anything about the matter.
“We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues,” a network executive said in a June 2015 statement. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”
After a brief stint at CNN, Beckel was re-hired by Fox News in January of 2017.
“Bob was missed by many fans of The Five and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch said in a press release.
Beckel’s second termination is linked to a class-action lawsuit which several current and former Fox News employees have filed against the network. One of the individuals in the suit made the allegation that Beckel left his office when he observed that he was going to be helped by a black computer technician.
Beckel stormed out of his office because client, a black Fox IT staffer entered – citing the man’s race – per staffer’s atty Doug Wigdor
— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) May 19, 2017
Douglas Wigdor, an attorney involved in the plaintiff’s suit said the case will continue.
“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 in a statement.
The racial discrimination suit is one of several open legal cases that Fox News is currently facing. Federal prosecutors are investigating payments that Roger Ailes, the late Fox News founder, made to women who accused him and other network employees of harassment. Several of those payments were never disclosed to investors or the public.
The network is also being sued in several civil court cases as well, primarily by women who say they were also victimized by male employees.
Beckel is one of several high-profile Fox News employees who have been forced out in recent months. Ailes was fired amid sexual harassment and blackmail allegations as was the channel’s top-rated host, Bill O’Reilly. Fox News also fired co-president Bill Shine, amid accusations that he helped provide cover for O’Reilly and Ailes.