Fox Guest Says Network Blacklisted Her After Rape Claim

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Scottie Nell Hughes in July 2017

Scottie Nell Hughes filed a lawsuit againstCharles Payne and Fox News, claiming that the network retaliated against her after she reported a sexual assault and rape complaint against the television host.

Scottie Nell Hughes, a political contributor with significant connections to the Republican party, says her star had been on the rise at Fox until she ended an ongoing allegedly abusive relationship with Payne. The suit suggested Fox News might cite emails that describe a consensual relationship, but then alleged any link between the two was the result of Payne using "his position of power to pressure Ms. Hughes into submission".

"In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne", Hughes told The Times. But she has also been a familiar face on Fox News Channel. What is most important to me is that justice will prevent other women from going through the nightmare I'm now living.

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.

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.

Representatives of Payne could not be reached for comment on the Times report, although Payne has maintained his innocence in previous statements.

From Payne's lawyer: "My client Charles Payne vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will defend himself vigorously against this baseless complaint". "We intend to aggressively litigate Ms. Hughes's claims and hold Fox accountable to the fullest extent under the law".

Monday's lawsuit is a troubling development for Fox News, which is reeling from sexual harassment scandals that led to the ouster of chairman Roger Ailes past year and popular host Bill O'Reilly in April.

She's suing Payne, Fox News, its parent 21st Century Fox and the company's legal and business affairs executive vp, Dianne Brandi, and its corporate communications lead, Irena Briganti. "Too shocked and ashamed to speak out, Ms. Hughes told no one about what happened", Hughes' documents claim.

"The latest publicity stunt of a lawsuit filed by Doug Wigdor has absolutely no merit and is downright shameful".

"We will vigorously defend this", a Fox spokesperson said. Earlier this year, Fox's most prominent host Bill O'Reilly was forced to resign after revelations about millions of dollars in settlements paid to women who came forward with claims that he acted inappropriately or harassed them. After that, not only did Fox keep her off its own airwaves, but it.



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