Wigdor LLP represents Fox News contributor Scottie Nell Hughes in a lawsuit against Fox News and Charles Payne, the host of the Fox Business program Making Money.
The lawsuit alleges Fox leaked Ms. Hughes’s name to the press and blacklisted her after she told the network that she had been raped by Mr. Payne and then pushed into an unlawful quid pro quo sexual relationship with him. The Complaint in the lawsuit alleges that, shortly after Ms. Hughes ended the abusive relationship with Mr. Payne in June 2015, she experienced a sudden decline in bookings across cable news networks and was told by a booking agent that Fox had blacklisted her. In June of 2017, Ms. Hughes’s manager contacted Paul Weiss, the outside law firm hired to perform internal investigations following various sexual harassment scandals at Fox. Ms. Hughes alleges that her manager disclosed to Paul Weiss that she had been raped by Mr. Payne and that she had been coerced into a relationship with him.
According to Ms. Hughes, shortly after the disclosure to Paul Weiss and a follow up conversation with Dianne Brandi, Fox News’ General Counsel, the Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications at Fox News, Irena Briganti, leaked Ms. Hughes’s identity to a reporter at the National Enquirer. The Complaint alleges that a statement prepared by Mr. Payne, which described the relationship as a “consensual affair,” was also provided to the National Enquirer in a coordinated attempt to publicly shame Ms. Hughes. The Complaint alleges that while Fox initially suspended Mr. Payne, on September 8, 2017, Fox announced that Mr. Payne would return to anchor Making Money on the Fox Business Network.
The Plaintiff is represented by Wigdor LLP Partners Douglas H. Wigdor and Jeanne M. Christensen, and Senior Associate Michael J. Willemin. Ms. Hughes said of the filing:
“My complaint speaks for itself. What is most important to me is that justice will prevent other women from going through the nightmare I’m now living. On my behalf, Wigdor LLP will expose Fox’s unconscionable conduct, including leaking my name to the media.”