No, Bob Beckel, noooooooooooo.
Beckel, who has served for more than a decade as one of Fox News’s most visible, on-air liberal stereotypes, has parted ways with the popular right-wing-commentary network.
On Thursday, Mediaite reported that Fox had fired The Five co-host following his four-month absence.
The network had confirmed that he was in rehab for addiction to pain meds. Mediaite has been on the “Where Is Beckel?” beat for months.
“We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues,” Bill Shine, Fox’s executive vice president of programming, said in a statement.
“He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him. Juan Williams and Geraldo Rivera will be among those rotating on the show for the near future.” (A Fox News spokesperson had originally told Mediaite that the split was “amicable.”)
A representative for Beckel could not be reached for comment. However, Beckel tweeted on Thursday that the "Fox statement today baffles me," and that he will "respond in the appropriate forum. I will miss you all.
Long before his career as a cable-news personality, Beckel was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s spectacularly failed 1984 presidential campaign, and had worked at the State Department during the Carter administration to help “handle the Panama Canal Treaties.”
In his years as a Democratic contributor and co-host at Fox, the 66-year-old, scratchy-voiced Beckel emerged as something of a fascinating figure at the network.
He was typically the lone liberal voice on The Five, the early-evening program in which the four conservative co-hosts yell about how bad Obama is. (The Daily Show has mounted a fantastic performance-art tribute to The Five’s hosts—during which Samantha Bee refers to Beckel as “ScumBob BigPants”—and Entertainment Weekly praised the show as Fox News’s “most delightfully crazy show.”)
He appeared on other Fox programs to issue his—squishy, clumsily constructed—defenses of liberalism.
And he was seemingly always strapped into his trademark suspenders, and wearing a tie.
His Fox colleagues would sometimes—on-air—chuckle and call attention to his colorful past, which includes heavy drug use (cocaine was his favorite), alcoholism, extortion, and a prostitute.
"I used a lot of cocaine in my life,” Beckel said during a Hannity segment on spring-break debauchery last year. (Fox News hates spring break.) “I've had good cocaine and bad cocaine. I'll guarantee you the stuff they're selling down [at Spring Break nowadays to kids] is bad. It's mixed, and it makes you feel like it's cocaine. But it's generally cut with stuff as bad as the stuff that cleans out toilets."
He also once joked about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg snorting coke to prep for a press conference.
Beckel is nothing if not open about his past struggles with alcohol.
“[The alcoholic] wakes up sick and tired, looks out the window of his car to be sure the front end is not dented in and, worse yet, that there’s no blood on it,” he said at a gala dinner in 2013.
“You get fewer and fewer invitations, which is understandable since you’ve knocked over four or five Christmas trees…You find yourself drifting to the only place you can: the dark world. It is full of people like ourselves, who are drinkers, who convince themselves they can stop drinking if they wanted to, but they are lying to themselves. They are all con people, but the problem was they didn’t understand I was the biggest con man in the crowd.”
Not too long after he had signed a contributor contract with Fox News, his personal problems took a sharp turn into pure tabloid territory.
In 2002, Maryam Massihi, a 21-year-old prostitute who the Democratic strategist had discovered online, attempted to extort $50,000 from Beckel. (Beckel had paid her $1,900 to perform sex acts at his Maryland residence.)
Massihi—then going by “Tiffany”—had promised clients that she would “take your stress away and caress you from head to toe.” She would later face extortion and conspiracy charges, and Beckel lost his job as campaign manager for Senate candidate Alan Blinken.
In the years since, he cleaned up his act (well…sorta) and became a loud, sometimes foul-mouthed, sometimes controversial voice on Fox News.
His greatest hits include calling for the “illegal” assassination of Julian Assange, suggesting that rape on college campuses is virtually nonexistent, screaming “the fuck” on Hannity, calling a Bachelorette star a “slut,”, demanding a temporary halt on the construction of mosques in America, and deploying the racial slur “Chinamen” on-air.
Here’s footage of Beckel doing yoga in public:
Farewell, Bob. This Chinaman will miss you dearly.