Fox News Fires Host for 'Insensitive Remark' to Black Employee

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Bob Beckel.

Photographer: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Fox News fired Bob Beckel, a co-host of prime-time program “The Five,” for making an “insensitive remark” to a black employee, the cable-news network said.

Beckel, a former Democratic political strategist, had returned to the network in January after a stint as a commentator on CNN. He had previously hosted “The Five” from 2011 to 2015. His termination was effective Friday, Fox News said in a statement.

The network, the crown jewel in 21st Century Fox Inc.’s collection of cable channels, is contending with numerous allegations of sexual and racial harassment and has parted ways with high-profile employees including host Bill O’Reilly, co-President Bill Shine and Chairman Roger Ailes, who died Thursday at 77.

The employee who made the complaint was a technician assigned to do work on Beckel’s computer, the worker’s lawyers, Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen, said in a statement. Beckel “stormed out of his office,” saying he was leaving because the worker was black, the lawyers said. Beckel tried to persuade the worker to withdraw the complaint in front of Kevin Lord, who oversees human resources at the network, the lawyers said.

Fox News said Lord started an investigation into the complaint seven minutes after it was received. Beckel apologized to the employee, and there was no effort to persuade the worker to withdraw his complaint, the network said.

A representative for Beckel didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The Five” had moved from a daytime slot to prime time after O’Reilly’s departure last month. Another host of the show, Jesse Watters, defended himself last month from critics who said a comment he made on air about Ivanka Trump was inappropriate.

(Updates with comment from Fox News in fifth paragraph.)
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