Rape, sexual assault and harassment seems to be the theme of 2017 for Fox News. Within the past year, 21st Century Fox has dealt with a series of serious rape and sexual harassment cases. The most recent case concerns political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes and anchor Charles Payne.
According to the Huffington Post, Hughes filed a lawsuit against Payne for raping her, and once Hughes approached Fox’s lawyers the network retaliated against her. The unwelcome sexual relationship began in a New York hotel room in 2013 and continued well into 2015, also according to the Huffington Post.
Throughout the course of the forced relationship, Payne invited Hughes as a guest four to five times per week on Payne’s Fox Business Network show “Making Money,” but once she made the allegations, Hughes’ appearances shrank down to five within a 10 month period, according to USA Today. The network put Payne on suspension while they investigated the allegations.
The suspension only lasted two short months and Payne is already back on the air. Hughes, in complete distress, told The Hill, “In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne. In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News.”
Fox News already has a certain reputation, and this series of male employees taking advantage of the female employees is not helping. Starting last summer, the network pushed out Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes due to multiple sexual harassment lawsuits against him.
Bill O’Reilly, former Fox prime-time star, was let go after having to pay $13 million to settle harassment claims from five different women and said in a statement he was let go for “political and financial reasons.”
A few months after, Fox News suspended and later terminated the contract of long-time host Eric Bolling due to allegations that he sent prurient messages to female co-workers, all according to the Huffington Post.
Despite Fox News’ sickening pattern of sexual misconduct within the network, they are choosing to vigorously defend Payne. As reported by USA Today, Fox News released a statement that reads, “It’s worth noting that Doug [Hughes’ lawyer] is Ms. Hughes’ third representative in the last six months to raise some variation of these claims which concern events from four years ago, since it apparently took some time to find someone willing to file this bogus case.”
Yep. Fox News just openly called an unsettled rape case bogus.It’s one thing to stand behind and defend an employee who is being prosecuted for a rape crime, but it is another to blatantly call an open and ongoing rape case “bogus.”
The statement put out by Fox News shows utter disrespect and no regard for Hughes. This woman was living a nightmare for two years and all Fox News has to say is that it is “bogus.”
One would think that the news network would be walking on eggshells due to multiple sexual misconduct cases but they are proudly stomping on eggs and continuing to excuse the clear and shameful pattern their male anchors and hosts are following.
It is depressing and disappointing that in today’s society, a woman cannot come forward with rape allegations without being blamed as the victim or retaliated against. In large corporations, men take advantage of women way too often and the victim seldom receives the attention or help they need.
It is situations like this that discourage women from telling their stories and running from toxic relationships like Hughes says Payne coerced her into.
Rape and sexual harassment are grave issues that should be handled delicately and seriously, not paid off or called “bogus.”