A Fox Business host has been pulled off the air amid accusations that he sexually harassed a conservative commentator who was most notable for her defense of then-candidate Donald Trump as a part of CNN’s election coverage.
According to HuffPost, ex-CNN regular Scottie Nell Hughes leveled the charges against Charles Payne, host of “Making Money” on the Fox Business Network, and Fox executives. Hughes, whose contract was not renewed by CNN after the election, returned to her native Tennessee and has recently expressed interest in running for Congress.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Payne recently admitted that he had an extramarital affair — described as a three-year “romantic relationship” — with a married female political analyst who appeared on Fox between 2013 to 2016. The Fox host issued a statement to the National Enquirer that included an apology to his wife, children and friends, writing: “I would like to extend an apology to my family and friends for having been involved in a romantic affair that ended two years ago.”
According to sources speaking with HuffPost, Hughes believes that Fox, Payne and then co-president of Fox News Bill Shine “retaliated against her after they learned of the relationship, which would be the basis for her sexual harassment claim.”
The HuffPost also notes that their sources state that the relationship between Hughes and Payne was a “widely known within the confines of the Fox Business world but a well-kept secret otherwise.”
“On a company trip in May 2015 to Las Vegas, where Payne was hosting his Fox Business show, ‘Making Money With Charles Payne,’ at the annual Money Show conference, they appeared to be sharing a room and had disappeared at one point for hours, leaving their colleagues behind,” the HuffPost reports.
“We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for any professional misconduct,” a Fox Business 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.”
Asked for a comment by the HuffPost, Hughes referred inquiries to her representative who has yet to respond.
Some of Hughes’ work on CNN can be seen here or in the videos below: