Is Juan Williams’s Exit From The Five Thanks to a Greg Gutfeld Blood Feud?
Fox News personality Juan Williams, a longtime cohost of The Five, announced yesterday that Wednesday’s edition of the talk show would be his last. Williams, the solo liberal commentator on the program, who was routinely treated as a punching bag by cohosts Greg Gutfeld and Jesse Watters, told viewers that his departure was due to the program going back to in-studio recording sessions and cited his experience enduring COVID-19 in late 2020. “COVID taught me a lot of lessons,” explained Williams, who will continue working at the network as a political analyst from Fox’s studios in Washington, D.C.
The real reason for Williams’s sudden departure may be more complex, however. One ex-Fox News producer told the Daily Beast that they were “very confident” Gutfeld had something to do with his cohost’s exit, and a current network employee told the outlet that “[Gutfeld had] been wanting the show back in the studio for quite some time.” According to a second former Fox News producer, the duo’s “on-air brawls [were] turning personal”; the Daily Beast noted that the two hardly ever chatted off the air and went out of their way to limit face time with each another. “[When] you have multiple narcissists on a show, this is the type of shit that goes on,” observed another current network employee. (Speaking to the Daily Beast, a Fox News spokesperson refuted the idea that “Gutfeld had anything to do with the move whatsoever.”)
As The Five’s lone liberal voice, Williams routinely clashed with his cohosts, including this month, when he said that Donald Trump’s stolen-election conspiracy theories “perpetrated a lie that led to violence” at the U.S. Capitol and “damaged our country.” The remark prompted Gutfeld to reply: “That’s your opinion, Juan, that’s your opinion!” When the same topic was raised in February, Williams suggested that some of his cohosts were excusing the former president’s influence on the riot. Gutfeld replied, “Don’t mind-read me, Juan!” When Williams questioned Liz Cheney’s recent removal from Republican congressional leadership, Watters told his cohost to “just stop it now.”
On the surface Fox News has kept things cordial. Nary a fit of rage was on display during Wednesday’s episode of The Five. After playing a montage of some of Williams’s standout moments, cohost Dana Perino said, “It’s a real honor and a pleasure to work with you, Juan. You made a good decision for yourself and for your family,” offering him a guest spot on her morning show.
In-studio production will reportedly resume on Tuesday at the News Corp office in New York City’s Midtown, home to Fox News HQ. A rotation of liberal guest hosts are set to take Williams’s seat. “As we started planning The Five’s return to its New York City studio at our headquarters a few months ago, Juan decided to stay in Washington, D.C., permanently. We accommodated his request, understanding and appreciating his desire to remain closer to his family and recognizing that a remote cohosting role on a roundtable in-studio program was not a long-term option,” Fox News V.P. Megan Albano, who’s in charge of The Five’s programming, said in a statement. “While we will miss his insightful contributions each night and look forward to welcoming him on set whenever he’s in New York, we are pleased to have him continue his longtime role as a senior political analyst with Fox News Media.”
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Published at Thu, 27 May 2021 19:49:53 +0000
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