A political commentator who says she was raped by Fox Business Network host Charles Payne is suing the host and the network, alleging that she was pressured into having a extramarital relationship with him—and that Fox blacklisted her when it ended. Scottie Nell Hughes, a frequent Fox guest between 2013 and 2016, alleges that Payne raped her in 2013 and then forced her into a sexual relationship, Variety reports. The lawsuit says that while emails might suggest the relationship was consensual, Payne used "his position of power to pressure Ms. Hughes into submission." The host was suspended in July while sexual harassment allegations were investigated and reinstated earlier this month.
Hughes says she was promised a paid contributor role that never materialized. She says the network not only blacklisted her, it leaked stories about an affair to the press after she made her allegations. "In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne," Hughes tells the New York Times. "In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News. Since then, I have been living an absolute hell." The lawsuit was filed by attorney Doug Wigdor, who has several clients that are suing Fox. In a statement, a Fox spokesperson called the lawsuit a "publicity stunt" from Wigdor that "has absolutely no merit and is downright shameful," Mediaite reports.