11:29am PT by Eriq Gardner
Fox News Blasted for Demanding Sex Tapes of Pundit Allegedly Raped
Scottie Hughes says she was raped. Now the political commentator asserts that Fox News is looking to further victimize her by demanding videos, photos and audio recordings of a "sexual nature."
On Thursday, she filed a motion to quash a subpoena.
Hughes, who regularly appeared on the network as a conservative pundit, has filed a lawsuit that alleges that Fox Business host Charles Payne sexually assaulted her in 2013 and that 21st Century Fox is culpable. After Fox directed an outside law firm to investigate the claims, Payne returned to his job after a brief suspension.
Fox is now getting aggressive in response to the claims.
"Plaintiff Scottie Nell Hughes is an unlikely champion for victims of sexual harassment and assault," wrote Fox attorneys in a Jan. 26 motion to dismiss. "A conservative political pundit and early Trump campaign surrogate, she railed against the women who accused then-candidate Trump of sexual assault. Sitting in a television studio alongside Defendant Charles Payne — the man she accuses of raping her and coercing her into a two-year sexual relationship — she excoriated a gender discrimination plaintiff for purportedly succumbing to pressure to engage in a workplace affair."
According to Fox, Hughes didn't tell anyone at the network about any sexual misconduct until four years after Payne allegedly raped her, and calls out a "bogus" contention that Fox caused other networks to blacklist her.
As a matter of law, Fox's attorneys are also arguing that Hughes can't assert claims of discrimination or retaliation because she was not a Fox employee, only an unpaid guest.
The case is also getting personal with Fox nodding to Hughes' "relentless bid for the media spotlight" and how she addressed rumors that she "had regularly slept with powerful conservative men in the industry to work her way up the ladder."
The latest volley comes in reaction to a subpoena to four men that it's argued have no connection to the case — radio host Wayne Dupree, podcaster Rusty Humphries, Alex Shively and Tea Party author Dustin Stockton.
"For a multitude of reasons, the Subpoenas must be quashed," write Jeanne Christensen and Michael Willemin, Hughes' attorneys at Wigdor. "First, information is not discoverable if it is not relevant. Requests for information about Ms. Hughes’s sexual history, including whether she engaged in purported adulterous affairs, her sexual reputation, or photos or videos of Ms. Hughes 'of a sexual nature,' are irrelevant and unrelated to the causes of action contained in the Complaint."
Her attorneys add that the subpoenas are only meant to harass, intimidate and punish her.
States the motion to quash, "Undeniably, the information requested by Fox serves one purpose: to attempt to shame Ms. Hughes with the mere suggestion that these individuals possess videos, photos or audios of Ms. Hughes of a 'sexual nature.'"
Fox News tells The Hollywood Reporter, "We will respond in our court filings."