Former CNN contributor Scottie Nell Hughes alleges that she was raped by Fox Business host Charles Payne in a new lawsuit against the network, claiming Fox retaliated against her for bringing up the claim.
“My complaint speaks for itself,” Hughes reportedly said. “What is most important to me is that justice will prevent other women from going through the nightmare I’m now living.”
Previously, Hughes had accused the host of sexual harassment and he was suspended in July before returning earlier this month.
According to the lawsuit, Hughes confidentially approached the law firm Paul Weiss, which the network had hired to investigate multiple workplace sexual harassment reports, to disclose her allegations against Payne in June.
After the lead from the firm “suggested that it would be best to reach a business solution rather than conduct a formal investigation,” the suit alleges, the network leaked Hughes’ names to several media outlets and released a statement from Payne expressing “his sorrow at having engaged in what he described as an affair with Ms. Hughes.”
Both Payne and Hughes admitted they were involved in a years-long affair but Payne maintains it was consensual.
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, who worked as a Trump supporter on CNN, claims she was coerced into the affair and blackballed from Fox after she ended the relationship and tried to report him to executives at the network. She has also said that she continued the relationship because she thought the 56-year-old anchor would help her get a paid position on the Fox News Channel.
Over the summer, emails obtained by Red Alert Politics cast doubt on Hughes’s allegations against Fox Business host Charles Payne.
Red Alert Politics released emails between the two:
In the exchange on September 3, 2013, near the beginning of their relationship, Hughes sent Payne a graphic e-mail in which she discussed a recent sex dream she had involving the two of them in a swimming pool.
“Do you know what I keep dreaming about.. You and I in the pool… My legs wrapped around your waste and you have me pressed up against the wall of the pool,” Hughes wrote. “Skin glistening and smelling of coconut… You thrusting yourself deeper inside with each push… And your fingers grasping each of my cheeks,” Hughes wrote.
Hughes also told Payne in a second e-mail that he would have to save his energy if they ever were “given the chance of lots of time and no commitments.”
The article then continued: “In a conversation with Red Alert Politics, one of Hughes’ former colleagues, who wished to remain anonymous, called her a ‘female predator.'”
But Hughes continues to allege that she was abused by the host and the network, prompting her to file a lawsuit.
“In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne,” Hughes said in an interview with NYT. “In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News. Since then, I have been living an absolute hell.”