A new lawsuit filed Monday against Fox News accuses the cable channel of blacklisting a political commentator after she alleged that a longtime Fox anchor had raped her.
The New York Times reports that the suit was filed by Scottie Nell Hughes, who claims she was raped by Fox Business News anchor Charles Payne and then was retaliated against by Fox after she came forward with the rape allegation.
“Mr. Payne, the host of ‘Making Money’ on Fox Business, returned to the air this month after the network suspended him in July pending an investigation into his conduct,” The Times reports. “Upon his return, the network said that it had completed the investigation, which began after Ms. Hughes took her allegations to the network in late June.”
The report quotes a statement released Monday by Payne’s lawyer, Jonathan N. Halpern, in which he says his client ”vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will defend himself vigorously against this baseless complaint.”
The statement adds: “We are confident that when the evidence is presented in this case, Mr. Payne will be fully vindicated and these outrageous accusations against him will be confirmed as completely false.”
The report adds: “In her lawsuit, Ms. Hughes said that Mr. Payne had ‘pressured’ his way into her hotel room in July 2013 and coerced her to have sexual intercourse with him, even though she had refused his advances by telling him ‘no’ and ‘stop.’
“According to the suit, Ms. Hughes was ‘shocked and ashamed’ and did not immediately report the episode. She said that over the next two years she was forced to engage in a sexual relationship with Mr. Payne. In exchange, she said, she received career opportunities, including increased appearances on Fox News and Fox Business and the promise that Mr. Payne would help her land a contributor contract, a job that can pay several hundred thousand dollars a year. Ms. Hughes never became a paid contributor at either channel.”
Hughes is quoted saying in an interview: “In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne. In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News. Since then, I have been living an absolute hell.”
Charles Payne (Twitter)