Fox Business’ Charles Payne Suspended After Harassment Allegations, Probe

Fox Business Channel "Money for Breakfast" co-host Peter Barnes, left, talks with guest Eric Bolling, second left, and FBN contributor Charles Payne, while co-host Jenna Lee, right, prepares for her newscast on the first day of the new cable business channel, in New York Monday Oct. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Fox Business Network’s Charles Payne was suspended Thursday while the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, investigates sexual harassment allegations against him, the network confirmed Friday.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the news Thursday. That paper and others reported a statement from an unnamed spokesperson from Fox Business Network: “We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for any professional misconduct,” the spokesperson said. “This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all of the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely manner.”

Payne seemed to refer to the allegations on his Twitter account Friday morning, denying them “to my core” and saying a reporter who had contacted him about the story had not printed his denial.

The Los Angles Times reported that Payne’s suspension followed his admission to the National Enquirer that he had a three-year “romantic relationship” with a political analyst who appeared as a guest on Fox Business.

The Times reported that the political analyst told Fox’s law firm that she believed she had been blacklisted from the network in 2015 after reporting Payne to network executives, two unnamed sources familiar with the complaint told the paper.

Payne’s attorney told the Times he “categorically denies” sexually harassing the analyst.

Allegations of sexual harassment have roiled Fox for years, resulting in recent months in the resignation of top leadership including late CEO Roger Ailes and co-president Bill Shine, the firing of star host Bill O’Reilly, and on Monday, the abrupt firing of Jamie Horowitz, the head of sports programming for Fox Sports.

This post has been updated.

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