The analyst whose accusations of sexual harassment have led to Fox Business Network’s Charles Payne being suspended has been identified as Scottie Nell Hughes. It emerged Thursday that Payne, who hosts Making Money, had been accused of having a three-year affair with a married political analyst who had worked for CNN.
Sources told the Huffington Post that the woman was Hughes and their relationship was well-known within Fox News circles.
Hughes is best known for her appearances on CNN last year in support of Donald Trump in which she made a handful of mistakes, including referring to Molotov cocktails as “Mazel Tov cocktails.”
She also worked as an unpaid guest commentator on Fox from 2013-2016 during which time she began having an affair with the married father, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Huffington Post reports that they did not make a strong effort to hide their relationship, even sharing a hotel room during a company trip in May 2015.
Hughes, who is also married, attended Payne’s birthday party at his home in 2015 where the pair’s behavior reportedly made Payne’s wife uncomfortable.
Now, Hughes is claiming that she was coerced into the relationship with threats of reprisals. But she also told her lawyer that she had stayed in the relationship because she thought he would help her land a permanent position at the network, sources told the Times.
Hughes’ lawyers claim she tried to discuss the situation with former head of programming Bill Shine, who left Fox News this May, but did not make any progress. She eventually disclosed the affair to Fox’s law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison when it ended in 2015. She also told them of the threats she allegedly received.
She now says that this caused her to be blackballed from the show.
However, the Huffington Post reports that the network stopped working with her after Payne’s wife told Shine about their behavior. She was then barred from appearing on Fox News and Fox Business.
Payne acknowledged the affair earlier this week, saying: “I would like to extend an apology to my family and friends for having been involved in a romantic affair that ended two years go,” he said. However, Payne “categorically denies” any claims of sexual harassment.