“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.
Fox News’ human resources department was made aware of a complaint about what one person familiar with the situation characterized as a “racially insensitive remark” on Tuesday evening. Executives conducted an internal investigation, this person said, and decided to part ways with Beckel Friday morning. Read the rest of this entry »
Fox News Channel made an appearance today in corporate filings submitted by parent 21st Century Fox. The price tag is at $45 million since Roger Ailes was canned last summer following numerous and explosive allegations of extremely inappropriate behavior.The financial fallout from the sexual harassment claims and lawsuits piling up at
“Other for the three and nine months ended March 31, 2017 included approximately $10 million and $45 million, respectively, of costs related to settlements of pending and potential litigations following the July 2016 resignation of the Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel after a public complaint was filed containing allegations of sexual harassment,” said a section deep within the Quarterly Report (read it here) that 21st Century Fox submitted to the SEC on Wednesday. The total figure for the ‘Other’ category over the nine months that ended at the end of March is $71 million.
My colleague David Lieberman reported earlier today that 21st Century Fox also noted in its quarterly report that it has “received regulatory and investigative inquiries relating to these matters and stockholder demands to inspect the books and records of the Company which could lead to future litigation.” As civil suits from Fox News on-air talent, past and potential contributors and others swirl, prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and criminal investigators from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are looking into what went on at FNC in these matters, who was paid what, and where it ended up in the books.
“Due to the early stage of these matters, the amount of liability, if any, that may result from these or related matters cannot be estimated at this time,” the filing today goes on to say in bloodless corporate speak. “However, the Company does not currently anticipate that the ultimate resolution of any such pending matters will have a material adverse effect on its consolidated financial condition, future results of operations or liquidity.”
The key word, as it has been for a while in this, being “anticipate” — that being what Fox has not been good at the past nine months.
At what Fox surely hoped was the end of the matter but really became the prologue in many ways, Ailes was shown the door by Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan on July 21 last year soon after former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson sued him for sexual harassment. Ailes was said to have received a $40 million golden goodbye from the Murdochs, which does not seem to be reflected in today’s filing. In September, Carlson came to a $20 million settlement with Fox and dropped her legal action. That payout is surely part of the $45 million noted in today’s filing. Read the rest of this entry »