Fox News Channel is parting ways – again – with Bob Beckel, the co-host of its primetime program, “The Five.”
“Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” the network said in a statement.
The dismissal opens – or perhaps closes – another chapter in an off-and-on relationship Beckel has had with the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet over the years. Beckel, a longtime political consultant as well as a former campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, joined Fox News in 2000, and had a years-long tenure on “The Five” when it aired in the late afternoon. Indeed, he was one of the program’s original co-hosts.
He departed in 2015 while recuperating from back surgery in a split that was seen as less an amicable. “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Bill Shine, who was then the network’s executive vice president of programming, in a statement 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.”
But Beckel returned to Fox News in 2017 after doing a stint at CNN, and was greeted with open arms. “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, in January.
Further details of the current controversy could not be immediately learned.
Fox News’ internal culture has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. Several current and former employees have filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Fox News in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, adding to a wave of litigation set against the network. The network has set in place a new human-resources chief and hired female executives to fill an open chief financial officer slot as well as its head of ad sales.
More to come…