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Fox News guest Scottie Nell Hughes says Fox Business host raped her, then Fox News blacklisted her

On Monday, conservative political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes sued Fox News, 21st Century Fox, Fox Business Network host Charles Payne, and two Fox News executives for a host of allegations tied to rape, gender discrimination, and retaliation. In the lawsuit, Hughes said that Payne "pressured" his way into her hotel room in 2013, raped her, then coerced her into a sexual relationship in return for career advancement, including frequent guest appearances at Fox News and Fox Business and a never-offered contributor contract.

Hughes, 37, alleges that when she ended the sexual relationship, Fox News stopped booking her, and when she reported Payne's alleged sexual assault to the legal team investigating sexual misconduct at Fox News, the company leaked her name to The National Enquirer along with a statement from Payne in which he acknowledged and apologized for a "romantic affair," suggesting it was consensual. Both Hughes and Payne are married. Hughes further says she was told that Fox News blacklisted her in early 2017 because she "had an affair with someone at Fox," leading to a sharp decline in cable news bookings — she was also a paid contributor at CNN in 2017, as a surrogate for candidate Donald Trump — and her name being withdrawn from consideration for a job in the Trump administration.

Fox Business took Payne off the air in July but reinstated him earlier this month after an investigation. Payne vehemently denied the allegations through a lawyer, and Fox News said in a statement that Hughes' suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, is a "downright shameful" and meritless "publicity stunt," adding, that Hughes' lawyer, Doug Wigdor, is the third she has hired "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."

"In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne," Hughes told The New York Times. "In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News. Since then, I have been living an absolute hell."