5:12pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Fox Business Host Suspended Amid Sexual Harassment Investigation
Fox Business host Charles Payne has been suspended while the network investigates claims of sexual harassment.
Payne's Making Money will be hosted by a rotating team of fill-in anchors until the matter is resolved, a FBN representative confirmed Thursday.
“We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for any professional misconduct," said the rep 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.”
The investigation was launched after a woman last month contacted Fox’s external law firm Paul, Weiss to report her allegations of sexual misconduct, the Los Angeles Times reports. The married political analyst claims she was blackballed after ending an affair with Payne in 2015.
Payne joined Fox Business as a contributor in 2007, according to his bio on the network's website. A representative for Payne did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This latest complaint comes on the heels of parent 21st Century Fox clearing a hurdle in buying European pay TV giant Sky. U.K. media regulator Ofcom last week concluded that Sky would remain a "fit and proper" license holder if Fox's purchase was approved despite "significant failings of the corporate culture at Fox News." Douglas Widgor, an attorney who is representing more than a dozen people who are suing the company, sent the organization a formal warning earlier this year.
In a series of tweets posted Friday morning, Payne defended himself. He claimed his response to the allegations wasn't reported and that he said of the sexual harassment claims, "That is an ugly lie I vehemently deny to my core. There is a mountain of proof that also proves its a lie.” He added, "I will fight this like a lion armed with truth."
Days ago a reporter contacted me about (false) allegations and asked for a comment. I gave an immediate reply. He reported story w/out them— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) July 7, 2017
This was my reply: “That is an ugly lie I vehemently deny to my core. There is a mountain of proof that also proves its a lie.”— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) July 7, 2017
I will fight this like a lion armed with truth. Thanks so much to all those that have reached out in support.#FightingBack— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) July 7, 2017
Not surprising media outlets that hate President Trump most put out most twisted stories on me - how do you misquote a written statement?— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) July 7, 2017
July 7, 8:11 a.m. This story has been updated with Payne's tweets defending himself.