Fox News Fires Bob Beckel Over Prescription Drug Addiction

By May Wilkerson 06/26/15

The co-host of The Five has long been open about his past abuse of drugs and alcohol.

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A trip to rehab appears to have gotten Fox News firebrand Bob Beckel canned from the cable news network, Medialite reports.

Best known for playing the sole "liberal" panelist on the network’s hit midday talk show The Five, Beckel reportedly took time off for surgery and sought treatment for prescription drug addiction. After four months off work, he lost his job, Fox has confirmed.

“We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Fox’s executive vice president of programming Bill Shine 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.”

"Fox statement today baffles me,” Beckel wrote yesterday on Twitter. “I will respond in the appropriate forum. I will miss you all.” He added that he “couldn’t understand the anger” in Shine’s statement, tweeting: “I was healing from major back surgery i [sic] could not walk, I took no advantage I got well.”

Beckel has been candid about his history of alcoholism and cocaine use, which were often the source of jokes on the talk show. "I used a lot of cocaine in my life,” he said last year during a segment on spring-break drug use. “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."

He has spoken openly about his recovery as well. In 2013, Beckel got emotional while telling his story at a gala dinner to benefit the Caron Treatment Center. “There comes a day when you finally decide you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired,” he said. “I got to Caron and I was scared and I was alone, and I began to look around and noticed that a lot of people looked scared and alone. We reached out to each other—alcoholic to alcoholic—and suddenly you realized that you weren’t alone.”

Beckel’s rocky past also included a 2002 tabloid scandal when a prostitute attempted to extort him for $50,000. He has stirred plenty of controversy during his time on the Fox show, famously calling for an end to visas for students from Muslim countries after the Boston Marathon bombings, referring to “the Chinamen” as the “single biggest threat” to national security, and often swearing and giving the finger to his co-hosts.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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