AceShowbiz - Just weeks after being reinstated following a sexual harassment investigation, Fox Business host Charles Payne is hit with a lawsuit. Scottie Nell Hughes, a political commentator who regularly appeared on the network, filed a lawsuit in New York federal court on Monday, September 18 accusing Payne of raping her in 2013.
In the lawsuit, Hughes also claims that she suffered retaliation from the network when she reported the alleged rape. She accuses the network of leaking false information to the press that suggested she and Payne had a consensual affair.
Hughes says she met Payne in July 2013 in New York for a Fox program. Payne allegedly "pressured his way into Ms. Hughes's hotel room for a 'private discussion' " and that's when the alleged rape happened, according to court papers.
Since then, her invitations to appear on Fox shows "increased dramatically." Hughes claims Payne used his "sexually motivated favoritism" to get her invited onto his show "Making Money" frequently. Hughes says she was coerced into a sexual relationship with Payne "in exchange for career opportunities and benefits," which lasted from 2013 until 2016.
Hughes says Payne "became enraged and physically violent" when she tried to end the relationship. And when she finally did sever ties with Payne in 2016, her appearances on the network dwindled from several a week to a handful in a year and then it dried up completely.
Hughes says in a statement through her attorney Douglas Wigdor, "What is most important to me is that justice will prevent other women from going through the nightmare I'm now living. On my behalf, Wigdor LLP will expose Fox's unconscionable conduct, including leaking my name to the media. I am grateful to my husband, family, friends and colleagues for the outpouring of love and support."
In early 2017, her booking agent was told by a colleague that Hughes "had an affair with someone at Fox and we were told not to book her." Hughes' team asked for a "business solution" asking the network to get her off the blacklist. The network suspended Payne in July while it conducted an internal probe of Hughes' claims. He was reinstated earlier this month after the network's investigation showed the two had a "consensual affair."
Hughes was "outraged" by the outcome of the investigation and "forced to seek refuge in our legal system," reads the complaint.
Responding to the lawsuit, Payne took to Twitter to say, "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.' " He added, "I will fight this like a lion armed with truth. Thanks so much to all those that have reached out in support.#FightingBack."
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.”— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) July 7, 2017
I will fight this like a lion armed with truth. Thanks so much to all those that have reached out in support.#FightingBack— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) July 7, 2017
He also slammed the original report which didn't include his statement of denial. "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," he posted.
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— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) July 7, 2017
A Fox News representative also reacts to the lawsuit, saying in a statement, "The latest publicity stunt of a lawsuit filed by Doug Wigdor has absolutely no merit and is downright shameful. We will vigorously defend this. 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."