From 2013 to 2015, a married female political analyst who appeared regularly on FOX News and FOX Business Network (FBN) engaged in an extramarital affair with Making Money host Charles Payne, who is also married with children. After she broke off the affair, the woman says she was blackballed by both Payne and 21st Century Fox from appearing on the networks.
Payne, who was suspended from his FBN show today, admitted a “romantic relationship” with the woman but denies accusations of retribution and harassment, reports the LA Times‘ Stephen Battaglio.
Sources told Battaglio that the woman, whose identity is being protected, tried several times to report harassment by Payne to FOX executives, including former FOX News’ head of programming Bill Shine, but was rebuked at every turn.
Only now, in the wake of a slew of sex scandals that have cost the company millions in legal settlements and forced out disgraced host Bill O’Reilly, has the company begun to take action. Victims of the harassment have described an environment where women felt pressured to enter into sexual relationships to advance at the networks, and this instance matches the pattern.
The woman confessed to her lawyer that she felt maintaining the affair with Payne was her best shot at landing full-time paid work at a FOX network. Sure enough, when she ended the romantic relationship, her business relationship with FOX ended as well.
More and more, it seems that misogyny is the norm in FOX’s toxic workplace. The company’s lawyers claim the networks have a “zero-tolerance policy” for this type of behavior, but they lost their credibility on that and other matters long ago.
After all, until recently they told us they were “fair and balanced,” and they still call themselves “news.” At least in this instance, their crimes may be catching up to them.