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Charles Payne Suspended from Fox After Sexual Harassment Charges

Fox Business Network anchor Charles Payne has been “suspended pending a future investigation” into allegations of sexual harassment lodged by an FBI contributor.

The network announced the suspension of the “Making Money” host Tuesday night in a statement.

“We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for any professional misconduct,” statement said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all of the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely manner.”

The popular host acknowledged that he had what he described as a three-year “romantic relationship” with his accuser – one which she alleged she was coerced into under threat of retaliation. Payne, through his lawyer, Neal Korval, “categorically denies” that claim. The Times reported:

That relationship is now being reviewed after the woman contacted Fox’s law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison last month to report her allegations of sexual misconduct. The woman, who worked for CNN last year, had a representative tell the firm she believed she was eventually blackballed from the network after she ended the affair in 2015 and tried to report Payne to top executives at Fox News, according to two sources familiar with her complaint.

Although The Times declined to name Payne’s accuser, The Huffington Post claimed to have found out who it was through numerous sources and what’s being called long “open secret.”

Reporter Yashar Ali of Huffington Post tweeted that he got “the scoop” and named Fox News contributor Scottie Nell Hughes as Payne’s accuser, which started a firestorm of its own.

Hughes has appeared as a guest on numerous Fox Business and Fox News Channel programs in the past.

Social media weighed in harshly, especially on Hughes even though she has not confirmed she is the accuser. Payne has made a public apology to his wife and children.

And one person had what many believe to be a better target for an investigation.

Payne, 56, who is also a Wall Street financial analyst, has been a mainstay at Fox Business Network since its 2006 imauguration, and has enjoyed substantial ratings growth since then.