Former Fox political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes sued the network Monday alleging that she was raped by Fox Business host Charles Payne and then faced retaliation from the network after reporting the alleged sexual assault. Hughes says Payne raped her in a hotel room in July 2013 after he “pressured” his way into her room. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, names Payne, Fox News, and its parent company 21st Century Fox, alleging gender motivated violence, gender discrimination, retaliation, and defamation.
From the New York Times:
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.
Ms. Hughes, a regular guest on Fox News and Fox Business from 2013 through 2016, asserted that after she ended the relationship with Mr. Payne, the network blacklisted her. After she reported her allegations against him, she said, the network leaked a story to the news media about a romantic affair between Ms. Hughes and Mr. Payne…
According to the lawsuit, Ms. Hughes experienced a sudden decline in bookings across cable news networks in early 2017 and was told by a booking agent that Fox had blacklisted her because she “had an affair with someone at Fox.” As a result, Ms. Hughes said, she was taken out of consideration for positions in the Trump administration.
“We will vigorously defend this,” the Fox News said in a statement.
Payne was suspended by the network in July, but returned to work this month.