Charles Payne, a long-time commentator and host at the Fox Business Network, has been suspended after he was accused of sexually harassing a frequent guest on the cable channel.
The allegation stems from a three-year affair that Payne has admitted to conducting. According to Los Angeles Times reporter Stephen Battaglio, the woman with whom Payne was romantically linked claims that she was coerced into the relationship. She allegedly accepted his advances because she was trying to get hired by Fox News as a contributor.
The "Making Money" host strongly denied any legal wrongdoing in several Twitter postings.
A representative for Fox Business Network confirmed via an emailed statement that Payne had been suspended by the cable news organization, adding that his program will be hosted by several different substitutes pending an investigation.
“We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for any professional misconduct," the spokesperson told Salon. "This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all of the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely manner.”
According to the Times story, Payne's accuser "stayed in the relationship because she believed he would help her chances of landing a position at the network." Fox News reportedly no longer gave her airtime after she complained about the situation to Bill Shine, a former network executive.
Payne is one of many male Fox News employees who have been accused of sexually harassing women. Roger Ailes, the channel's creator, was forced out after anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit in 2016 alleging multiple instances of harassment and verbal abuse. Bill O'Reilly, the one-time prime-time anchor for Fox News was forced out earlier this year amid reports that the network had spent tens of millions of dollars staving off legal complaints against him.
Just this week, Jamie Horowitz, an executive at Fox Sports, was fired amid harassment complaints.