Former Fox News contributor Scottie Nell Hughes filed suit against the network this Monday. She claims she was raped by Fox Business Network host Charles Payne.
Hughes also claims the network blacklisted her was targeted by executives for retaliation after coming forward with the allegation. The news comes as the latest sexual harassment claim surrounding a Fox anchor.
Conservative commentator allegedly raped by Fox News anchor
A political commentator who formerly appeared on Fox News says the network took her off air after she accused a host of raping her, according to a new lawsuit filed Monday.
Scottie Nell Hughes, a one-time guest analyst for the Fox Business Network, alleged that she was raped by host Charles Payne and that Fox News went against her when she came forward with her claim.
Hughes’s lawsuit claims that Payne in July 2013 “pressured” his way into her hotel room for a “private discussion” and raped her even after she told him “no” and “stop.”
Over the next two years, Payne forced Hughes into a sexual relationship in exchange for career opportunities, Hughes says in the lawsuit.
“Payne used his position of power to pressure Ms. Hughes into submission,” the lawsuit says.
According to Hughes’ lawsuit, in July her manager reached out to Paul Weiss, a law firm hired to perform an internal investigation of Fox News amid an avalanche of sexual harassment scandals that reached all the way up to former network chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.
The lawyers offered a “business solution” to the allegations of rape and retaliation and promised to reach out to Fox network execs about getting Hughes off the blacklist, the lawsuit alleged.
A few hours later, Hughes’ manager got a phone call from a National Enquirer reporter asking about the romantic affair gone bad between his client and Payne — a false story leaked by the network to discredit Hughes, her lawsuit argued.
According to the lawsuit, Hughes’ name was leaked by Irena Briganti, a vice president of corporate communications at Fox.
Briganti also leaked a prepared statement and apology from Payne, which painted the relationship as “a consensual affair,” the lawsuit said.
Standing by their anchor
The allegations became public earlier this summer, when Payne was suspended after Hughes, who was then unnamed, accused him of what at the time was referred to as “misconduct.”
Since those accusations, Hughes claims that Fox News refused to put her on the air.
However, Payne, the host of ‘Making Money’ on Fox Business, returned to the network in September after a two-month-long investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
In a statement to the Times, Payne maintained his innocence.
“Charles Payne vehemently denies the allegations,” the statement read. “He will defend himself vigorously against these claims and will hold those responsible to account.”
“He will defend himself vigorously against these claims and will hold those responsible to account.”
Payne, who’s married, has already admitted he cheated on his wife. However, he claims it was consensual.
Long string of sexual harassment allegations
The accusations come amid a string of sexual harassment allegations at Fox over the last year. Longtime host Bill O’Reilly left the network in April, amid accusations of sexual harassment.
Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes similarly left the company after numerous allegations of sexual harassment last year.
Earlier this month, Fox News host and contributor Eric Bolling is out at the network following allegations that he harassed colleagues, officials said Friday.
“Fox News Channel is canceling The Specialists, and Eric Bolling and Fox have agreed to part ways amicably,” the network said in a statement.
“We thank Eric for his ten years of service to our loyal viewers and wish him the best of luck.”
“It’s worth noting that Doug is Ms. Hughes’ third representative in the last six months to raise some variation of these claims which concern events from four years ago, since it apparently took some time to find someone willing to file this bogus case.”