Fox News Settles Retaliation Lawsuit From Scottie Nell Hughes

Scottie Nell Hughes Headshot Main - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of RT America

As Fox News gears up to cover the Brett Kavanaugh hearing Thursday, the cable news network has settled its own legal problem arising from a woman who alleged being raped and then mistreated after she came forward to report what happened.

Scottie Nell Hughes, a political commentator who once regularly appeared on Fox News, sued last September with the allegation that she had been raped by Charles Payne, host of Making Money on Fox Business. Hughes claimed she was blacklisted after reporting sexual harassment.

Paul Weiss, the law firm that handled an independent investigation of sexual harassment claims at Fox News, looked into her allegations. Payne was briefly suspended but returned to his job. Both Payne and Fox News have denied the charge of rape.

In April, a New York federal judge dismissed most of Hughes' claims, including ones asserting discrimination against Fox News and a cause of action asserting gender-motivated violence against Payne. The fact that Hughes wasn't a paid employee factored heavily in the judge's decision.

On the other hand, Hughes was allowed to move forward on two claims —  failure-to-hire and retaliation based on her status as a job applicant.

That opened the door to discovery with Hughes eyeing depositions for Bill Shine, the former chief of the network who is currently the head of communications for the White House, as well as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, who Hughes claimed would no longer have her on their shows.

Then, in May, Fox came to a settlement with nearly 20 individuals represented by attorney Douglas Wigdor. The company agreed to pay out about $10 million with the goal of putting an end to an ugly chapter in its history.

At the time, Wigdor was representing Hughes. She didn't want to be part of that settlement, and so she pursued new representation. 

Now comes the resolution a few weeks after Hughes announced she would be joining RT America as an anchor.

On Tuesday, a judge ordered the case closed after being informed by the parties of a settlement.

The deal is confirmed by Fox News.

According to a statement to The Hollywood Reporter from Fox News, “In light of the Opinion and Order issued by Judge William Pauley on April 24, 2018, Fox News Network and Scottie Nell Hughes have reached an agreement to settle Ms. Hughes’s remaining claims that Fox News failed to hire her. All of Ms. Hughes’s other claims had previously been dismissed by the Court.”