Scottie Nell Hughes, a former political commentator for Fox News, filed a lawsuit on Monday, claiming Fox Business Network host Charles Payne raped her in 2013.
Los Angeles Times reports that on July 6, Fox officials suspended Payne amid the accusations, while law firm Paul, Weiss investigated both Fox News and 21st Century Fox. On September 8, Payne was cleared and allowed to return to work. Apparently Hughes wasn’t happy with the decision and took her allegations to civil court.
According to court documents, Hughes accused Payne of pressuring into a sexual relationship and told her it would help her obtain more guest appearances, which could possibly lead to a role as a commentator on Fox. Hughes said she ended her relationship with Payne in 2016, and shortly after, her guest appearance opportunities ceased.
Conservative pundit Scottie Nell Hughes alleges she was raped by Fox's Charles Payne, blacklisted for reporting it. https://t.co/ePQoNP6Cha
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 18, 2017
Hughes alleged that she tried to consult with Fox News management about what happened, but Payne adamantly denied the allegations.
The plaintiff now claims that along with being pressured into a sexual relationship, Payne raped her before the relationship began. She said it started in July 2013, while she was in New York for a Fox program. She alleged that Hughes insisted on finding out her hotel room number. Hughes admitted that she ultimately relented and the pair had a private conversation about work that night, but it escalated into Hughes pressuring her for sex.
“You know you want this,” Payne allegedly said. “You’ve been teasing me since that first time on set, wearing those short dresses over those long legs with your big boobs hanging out.”
Hughes claimed she told Payne “no” numerous times, then finally relented because she feared “irreparable physical harm.” She said she was “shocked and ashamed” about what happened, but decided not to report it.
Afterward, the coerced sexual relationship kept on for three years, according to Hughes. Each time she tried to break it off, Payne reportedly became verbally and physically abusive.
Payne’s attorney, Jonathan Halpern of Foley & Lardner LLP, said that he intended to fight the “outrageous accusations” made by Hughes and that his client never participated in wrongdoing.
“My client Charles Payne vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will defend himself vigorously against this baseless complaint. 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.”
In 2017, Hughes’ booking agent told her that someone revealed that Hughes “had an affair with someone at Fox and we were told not to book her,” according to the lawsuit.
Scottie Nell Hughes sues Fox News, claims name was leaked to National Enquirer – Sep. 18, 2017 https://t.co/r4OVy29l6n
— Petrov Dempski (@petrovdempski) September 19, 2017
Hughes accused Fox of leaking personal information about her to tabloids, including the National Enquirer; a reporter from the tabloid allegedly called her and asked about her “romantic affair.”
The plaintiffs named Hughes, Fox News, 21st Century Fox, Irena Briganti and Dianne Brandi (executive vice president of legal and business affairs at Fox News) as defendants in the lawsuit.
[Feature Photo: Twitter]