Conservative Analyst Scottie Nell Hughes Sues Fox News Over Handling Of Rape Allegation

She hopes "justice will prevent other women from going through the nightmare" she's experiencing.
Scottie Nell Hughes in July 2017.
Scottie Nell Hughes in July 2017.

Conservative analyst Scottie Nell Hughes is suing Fox News for allegedly retaliating against her after she came forward this past summer with allegations that she’d been raped by network anchor Charles Payne.

“My complaint speaks for itself,” Hughes said in a statement sent to HuffPost on Monday. “What is most important to me is that justice will prevent other women from going through the nightmare I’m now living.”

The lawsuit filed Monday is levied at 21st Century Fox; Fox News Network LLC; Payne; Dianne Brandi, the executive vice president of legal and business affairs at Fox News; and Irena Briganti, the network’s executive vice president of corporate communications.

In July, Fox News confirmed it had suspended Payne, a Fox Business anchor, as it investigated a sexual harassment claim against him. Several sources confirmed with HuffPost that Hughes was the Fox News employee who had made the complaint. 

According to the lawsuit, Hughes confidentially approached the law firm Paul Weiss, which the network had hired to investigate multiple workplace sexual harassment reports, to disclose her allegations against Payne in June.

After the lead from the firm “suggested that it would be best to reach a business solution rather than conduct a formal investigation,” the suit alleges, the network leaked Hughes’ names to several media outlets and released a statement from Payne expressing “his sorrow at having engaged in what he described as an affair with Ms. Hughes.”

A spokesman for Fox News said in a statement Monday night: “The latest publicity stunt of a lawsuit filed by Doug Wigdor has absolutely no merit and is downright shameful. We will vigorously defend this. It’s worth noting that Doug is Ms. Hughes’ third representative in the last six months 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.”

Hughes’ manager Michael Sanchez reached out to HuffPost to say Wigdor is the second, not third, attorney Hughes has worked with regarding her allegations against Payne.  

In September, Payne returned to his anchor position.

See our previous coverage of Hughes’ claims.

This article has been updated with comment from Fox News and Hughes’ manager.