Fox News host Bob Beckel fired over insensitive racial remark

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The Five host Bob Beckel (right) seen along co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle. The Fox News host was fired after the network said he made an insensitive racial remark to an African-American employee.

For the second time in his career, Bob Beckel is out at Fox News

“Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” the network said in a statement.

According to a source close to the incident, the human resources department at Fox News was informed of the incident, which involved Beckel making an “insensitive remark” to an African American employee, on Tuesday night.

So far, the name of the employee involved in the exchange is unknown. After investigating the complaint, the network came to the conclusion that the longtime co-host on The Five needed to be terminated. He was informed of the decision Friday morning.

Beckel did not immediate respond to a request for comment. 

The decision also comes as 23 plaintiffs, including Fox News reporter and anchor Kelly Wright, are suing the network for alleged racial discrimination and harassment. Wright claims that he "has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a 'Jim Crow' — the racist caricature of a Black entertainer."

Lawyers representing the current and former Fox News staff members involved in the lawsuit said Beckel attempted to intimidate the employee who filed the complaint in front of Chief Human Resource Officer Kevin Lord, but Fox News denies that anyone tried to persuade the individual to withdraw his complaint.  

"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," Fox News said in a statement. "Today, Fox News delivered that message to Mr. Beckel and facilitated an apology from Mr. Beckel to the employee minutes after he was terminated."

The lawyers also signaled there may be more allegations against the network that come to light next week. 

“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,” lawyers Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen said in a statement.

Beckel, a longtime Democratic political consultant, joined Fox News in 2000, and was one of the original co-hosts on The Five. He left the network in 2015 in a less-than-amicable split (former Fox News executive Bill Shine said in a statement at the time Beckel “took tremendous advantage of our generosity”) before returning in 2017 after a brief stint on CNN.

Beckel has a history of making controversial statements on air. Back in 2014, he made a racial slur about Chinese people on The Five that aired live. The year before, he said on air that after he went swimming, his “eyes blew up, and it made me look Oriental.”

Beckel is the latest employee to be shown the door at Fox News. In April, the network fired popular host Bill O'Reilly after it was revealed he made $13 million in payments to settle the harassment claims of five Fox News personalities. Longtime Fox News executive Bill Shine was also forced out as the network contends with a number of lawsuits alleging gender and racial discrimination during his tenure. 

Prior to his career in television, Beckel was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign and has worked on several political campaigns as a consultant. In 2002, Beckel resigned as the manager of Alan Blinken’s campaign for United States Senate in Idaho after being targeted for extortion by a prostitute, an incident he alluded to on Thursday while remembering former Fox News executive Roger Ailes.

This is a breaking news report. Check back for updates.

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