Lawsuit continues alleging Fox Biz’s Payne sexually assaulted commentator
A discrimination lawsuit by political commentator who once regularly appeared on Fox News will move forward against the cable news network, but only on a limited basis after a federal judge on Tuesday substantially pared her claims, repots Eriq Gardner of the Hollywood Reporter.
Gardner reports, “Hughes alleges that Fox Business host Charles Payne sexually assaulted her in 2013 and she brought a wide-ranging complaint against 21st Century Fox, Fox News, Payne and two executives.
“In response to the lawsuit, Fox’s attorneys argued that Hughes can’t assert claims of discrimination or retaliation because she was not a Fox employee, only an unpaid guest.
“U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III agrees in part.
“In an opinion, Pauley writes that travel expenses and the cost of doing her hair and makeup are benefits that fall short of establishing employee status and that any allegations concerning promises to retain her contractually are too vague. Additionally, Pauley won’t credit the publicity benefits of appearing on Fox News on a regular basis.”
Read more here. Once Hughes reported Payne’s alleged rape to Fox, she alleges she was blacklisted. Fox directed an outside law firm to investigate her claims, and Payne returned to his job after a brief suspension.