Fox Business host Charles Payne has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into sexual harassment claims made by a recurring guest, the network confirmed Thursday.
The suspension of the Making Money with Charles Payne host came after the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that lawyers for 21st Century Fox were reviewing allegations made by a guest who appeared several times on Fox News and Fox Business Network programs.
"We take issues of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for any professional misconduct," a Fox News spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in a statement. "This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely matter."
Fox said there will be a rotation of substitute hosts on Making Money in the meantime.
The alleged victim, who was not identified by the Times, told her attorney she had remained in the relationship in hopes it would help her chances of landing a permanent position with the news network.
Payne admitted to having an extramarital affair with a married woman who appeared on the network in a statement published this week in the National Enquirer.
"I would like to extend an apology to my family and friends for having been involved in a romantic affair that ended two years ago," Payne said, according to the Enquirer. "My wife and I have worked hard over these past two years to restore the trust in our marriage that I squandered."
Payne's attorney, Jonathan N. Halpern, told BuzzFeed News in a statement the Fox Business host "vehemently denies the allegations."
"He will defend himself vigorously against these claims and will hold those responsible to account," Halpern said in the statement.
On Twitter Friday, Payne also called the allegations false and said there is "a mountain of proof" that backs him up.
He also promised to fight back "like a lion armed with the truth."
On April 21, Payne appeared on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program, where he talked about his wife who, he shared, makes him a three-course lunch every day. Payne also said his wife had been a heart transplant recipient.
According to the biography posted on the Fox Business website, Payne joined Fox in October 2007.
21st Century Fox has been reviewing a series of sexual harassment allegations that have been made in recent months.
Bill O'Reilly, the news network's top star, left in April after it was reported he and Fox News paid millions of dollars to settle sexual harassment claims filed since 2004.
Tamara Holder, a former contributor, also received a settlement from the network after alleging she was sexually assaulted by Fox News executive Francisco Cortes.
Last year, former Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes alleging sexual harassment. That lawsuit was settled out of court and Ailes was forced to resign.
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Salvador Hernandez at email@example.com.
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