Fox News is firing back at a lawyer who claims the network tried to make a complaint against former Fox co-host Bob Beckel go away.
Fox fired Beckel Friday, less than three days after a complaint about him was made alleging racial discrimination. Beckel was most recently a co-host on The Five.
Attorney Douglas Wigdor, who represents the plaintiffs suing Fox in a class action racial discrimination lawsuit, said Friday that the incident that triggered the complaint took place Tuesday night when Beckel “stormed out of his office” when a black IT technician came to work on Beckel’s computer.
Wigdor alleged Beckel left, “telling our client that he was leaving his office because he was black.”
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“To make matters worse, after our client lodged a complaint about Mr. Beckel’s racist behavior, Mr. Beckel, in front of chief human resource officer Kevin Lord, attempted to intimidate our client and persuade him to withdraw his complaint,” Wigdor said.
“Because he would not do so, Fox, in what has now become commonplace, leaked the story on a Friday to minimize the attention drawn to Mr. Beckel’s racist behavior,” Wigdor added.
Fox, which is trying to defend itself in the racial discrimination suit that has grown from two to more than 20 plaintiffs, disputed Wigdor’s account in its own statement.
“As Mr. Wigdor knows, Fox News made the decision to terminate Mr. Beckel after a prompt and thorough investigation,” the Fox statement said.
“His client raised the complaint to Kevin Lord, EVP human resources, on Tuesday evening via email, and within seven minutes Mr. Lord responded and began the investigation,” Fox said in its 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,” Fox added.
Fox then said it never tried to quash the incident.
“No one tried to persuade Mr. Wigdor’s client to withdraw his complaint,” the Fox statement said.
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