Fox Business Anchor Suspended Following Sexual Harassment Accusation

(Updated)

Screenshot / Fox News YouTube

BY:

Fox Business Network anchor Charles Payne has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

A female analyst who had appeared on Fox News and CNN is alleging that she was blackballed from Fox after ending an affair with Payne, the Los Angeles Times reports. She also claims that she was coerced into a sexual relationship, and 20th Century Fox is investigating her allegations while other anchors fill in on Payne's show, "Making Money."

HuffPost writer Yashar Ali reported that the woman in question is Scottie Nell Hughes, a pro-Donald Trump commentator who also appeared frequently on CNN during the 2016 election cycle.

"We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for any professional misconduct," a network representative said in a statement. "This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all of the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely manner."

Payne's lawyer, Neal Korval, said that Payne "categorically denies" the accusation of sexual harassment, but the anchor did admit to the affair and apologized to his family. The woman told her lawyer that she expected Payne to help her become a regular contributor. Sources tell the Los Angeles Times that when she broke off the affair, her appearances were cut back drastically.

This news comes after Fox News has faced repeated sexual harassment scandals that have hit the highest levels of the network. Late ex-Fox News chief Roger Ailes was forced out last summer, and primetime anchor Bill O'Reilly left the network following reports of numerous harassment allegations, which he has denied.

Payne tweeted about the allegations on Friday, claiming a reporter contacted him about the charge and wrote his story without using it. He said the allegations were false and said outlets opposed to President Donald Trump were posting the "most twisted stories on me."

UPDATE: Friday, 9:23 A.M.: This article has been updated with Payne's response on Twitter Friday morning.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at crookston@freebeacon.com.

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