Ex-Fox News commentator alleges anchor raped her in new lawsuit

Carla Harmon
September 19, 2017

Scottie Hughes, a political commentator who regularly appeared on the network, has come forward as the source of the harassment report in a lawsuit filed Monday in NY federal court.

Hughes claims in the suit that Payne forced his way into her hotel room in July 2013 before sexually assaulting her, and says she was coerced into having a sexual relationship with him for the next two years in order to secure opportunities at Fox.

As Variety reported, Payne was suspended from his own show, Making Money, in July after a former Fox contributor, who was later outed as Hughes, made harassment allegations against him.

She appeared as a contributor on Fox News and Fox Business between 2012 and 2016, but says the network stopped booking her after she came forward. What is most important to me is that justice will prevent other women from going through the nightmare I'm now living.

RadarOnline.com and The National Enquirer broke the news of Hughes' relationship with Payne, who admitted a relationship but offered an apology and after a brief suspension returned to the network on-air. In a statement to the Times, Payne maintained his innocence.


Jonathan Halpern, an attorney who represents Payne, said Payne denies any wrongdoing. "He will defend himself vigorously against these claims and will hold those responsible to account", Halpern said.

Hughes spoke with the New York Times about her allegations.

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.

A spokesperson for Fox Business did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The latest publicity stunt of lawsuit filed by Doug Wigdor has absolutely no merit and is downright shameful", it read. 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", the statement said, according to the New York Times.

Fox News has faced a wide-range of sexual harassment claims.

In the past year, dozens of women employed by Fox News have claimed the network fostered a culture of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by male personalities.

Hughes claimed that Fox leaked her identity to The National Enquirer.

A bevy of allegations suggesting harassment and/or discrimination have been levied at Fox News Channel since its former leader, Roger Ailes, was ousted past year.


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