Fox News Group has just suspended host Charles Payne after a female political analyst and frequent guest on both the Fox News and Fox Business Network reported sexual harassment allegations against him. She claims she was coerced into a sexual relationship with Payne under threat of reprisals.
The host of Making Money has recently come out admitting he was cheating on his wife for over three years while engaging in an affair with the woman.
From the Los Angeles Times:
That relationship is now being reviewed after the woman contacted Fox’s law firmPaul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison last month to report her allegations of sexual misconduct. The woman, who worked for CNN last year, had a representative tell the firm she believed she was eventually blackballed from the network after she ended the affair in 2015 and tried to report Payne to top executives at Fox News, according to two sources familiar with her complaint.
The woman was never an employee of Fox News, but appeared as a guest across numerous Fox News and Fox Business Network programs with the hope of becoming a paid contributor. She has told her lawyer, who is preparing a legal complaint against Fox News and Payne, that she stayed in the relationship because she believed he would help her chances of landing a position at the network, according to the sources. Instead, the woman is alleging, after she ended the affair her appearances were drastically reduced, the sources say… According to the sources, the woman told her lawyer that from March 2015 to March 2016 she made several unsuccessful attempts to discuss her situation with Payne with former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who was head of programming at the time. Shine left Fox News on May 1.
This is the latest string of accusations leveled against the Fox News network, which is currently experiencing declining ratings due to sexual harassment claims made against its top stars.
Last year, former “Fox & Friends” anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Roger Ailes. Fox News settled that lawsuit for $20 million and ended up issuing an unprecedented apology.
Shortly after Gretchen filed her suit, six other women came out against Ailes, including former National Republican National Committee field adviser Kellie Boyle, and model Marsha Callahan.
Then Megyn Kelly came out against Ailes. She ended up leaving the network, too, and Ailes was forced to resign just days after that.
Then, fast forward several months, “O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly, Fox News’ biggest star in its 20-year history, left Fox after a wave of new harassment allegations were made against him.
This latest allegation just underscores the amount of work 21st Century Fox has to do to improve its work environment, says Debra Katz, an employment attorney in Washington.
“It seems the atmosphere was so poisoned with sexual harassment that if you lift any rock you’re going to be able to find more,” Katz said.