21st Century Fox has suspended a Fox Business Network host as it investigates allegations of sexual harassment against him. The Los Angeles Times reports that Charles Payne, who hosts the program “Making Money” and appears on other FBN programs, was suspended from the network.
FBN confirmed the news Thursday night, with a rep for the network saying in a statement: “We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for any professional misconduct. This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all of the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely manner.”
Payne “has acknowledged what he described as a three-year ‘romantic relationship’ with a married female political analyst who frequently appeared on Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel from 2013 to 2016,” The Times reports. “Payne admitted to the extramarital affair in a statement to the National Enquirer published Wednesday that included an apology to his wife, children and friends.”
Payne had a different take on the situation, defending himself on Twitter in a series of posts this morning.
“Days ago a reporter contacted me about (false) allegations and asked for a comment. I gave an immediate reply. He reported story w/out them,” Payne wrote on Twitter. “This was my reply: ‘That is an ugly lie I vehemently deny to my core. There is a mountain of proof that also proves its a lie.’”
The Huffington Post cites multiple sources naming conservative analyst Scottie Nell Hughes as Payne’s accuser.
“Hughes has told several sources that she feels that Payne, the network and Bill Shine — then co-president of Fox News and Fox Business — retaliated against her after they learned of the relationship, which would be the basis for her sexual harassment claim,” The Huffington Post reports.
The L.A. Times report declined to name Payne’s accuser “because she alleges that she was coerced into a sexual relationship with Payne under threat of reprisals.” The Times cites sources saying that Payne’s accuser, who reportedly aspired to become a paid contributor, alleges that after she ended her affair with Payne, her appearances were drastically reduced.
The Huffington Post reports that the law firm Paul Weiss, which investigated former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment claim against Roger Ailes last year, is leading the internal investigation into Hughes’ claim.