Fox News political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes has accused television anchor Charles Payne of raping her and the network of retaliating against her when she reported the event to Fox's lawyers.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan against Twenty-First Century Fox on Tuesday, Hughes said Payne raped her in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and pressured her into a continuing sexual relationship in exchange for frequent guest spots on Fox shows.
Hughes said that when she ended the affair and later reported the alleged assault to lawyers for Fox, the network blacklisted her from its shows and leaked information about her to the media.
Jonathan Halpern, a lawyer for Payne, said the claims were baseless and that Payne denies wrongdoing. Payne, the host of Making Money on Fox Business Network, earlier this month returned from a two-month suspension over the allegations.
In a separate statement, a Fox News spokesperson denied Hughes' claims and called the lawsuit a "publicity stunt" and "downright shameful".
Fox News has been rocked by a series of sexual harassment claims since last year, which have led to the resignation of former Chief Executive Roger Ailes and the departure of Bill O'Reilly, formerly the network's top anchor.
Hughes' lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, has filed several sex and race discrimination lawsuits on behalf of current and former Fox employees and contributors.