Fox Business Network host Charles Payne has been suspended pending an investigation into sexual harassment allegations leveled against him.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the woman bringing the allegations against Payne reached out to Fox’s law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in June to report “sexual misconduct,” prompting the investigation. Through a spokesperson, she told the law firm she believed she was “blackballed” from the network after she ended a three-year affair with Payne in 2015. She also alleges Payne coerced her into having a sexual relationship with him, threatening retaliation if she didn’t comply.
Payne admitted to the extramarital affair on Wednesday, in an interview with the National Enquirer, apologizing to his wife and children for his indiscretion. However, he “categorically denies” that there’s any truth to his accuser’s allegations of harassment and coercion.
The allegations against Payne are just the latest in a spate of sexual harassment accusations leveled against Fox employees in the last several months. Just Monday, Fox Sports dismissed head of sports programming Jamie Horowitz after interviewing several female employees about his behavior in the workplace. And, of course, it’s only been around three months since conservative Fox News mouthpiece Bill O’Reilly was ousted from the network for sexually harassing multiple women (and consequently causing more than 60 advertisers to pull out of his show).
“We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for any professional misconduct,” a Fox Business Network spokesperson 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.”
July 7, 2017, 9:52 a.m.: This article has been updated to remove identifying information about the woman who made allegations against Charles Payne.