A former “Good Morning America” producer stands accused of sexual assault and fostering a “toxic work environment.”
Former executive producer Michael Corn allegedly sexually assaulted Kirstyn Crawford, who is currently a “Good Morning America” producer, on an Uber ride and in a hotel room during a 2015 work trip to Los Angeles, People reports.
Crawford has sued Corn for “sexually abusive” behavior toward her and former ABC News producer Jill McClain. McClain isn’t a plaintiff in the lawsuit but supports Crawford. Crawford’s lawsuit also names ABC for failing to investigate Corn’s behavior.
Corn, who is currently the president of the Nexstar Media Group cable network NewsNation, has firmly denied the allegations. He has said that he “will be pursuing all available legal remedies against these women and defending myself vigorously.”
‘Good Morning America’ Producer Says ABC Did Not Punish Corn After She Reported His Behavior
Crawford filed her lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. In it, she alleges that Corn sexually assaulted both her and McClain while he was their supervisor.
“ABC knew or should have known that Corn had a propensity to sexually harass female colleagues and that he perpetuated a hostile work environment at ABC,” Crawford alleges in the lawsuit, per Variety. “As early as 2017, ABC learned of Corn’s sexual assault on Plaintiff. Yet ABC did nothing to protect Plaintiff or remove Corn from his position of power. Indeed, Plaintiff has reason to believe that ABC was also aware of other women who complained against Corn. Instead, ABC looked the other way.”
Crawford said that instead of reprimanding Corn, ABC brass promoted him. And she alleges that in addition to the sexual harassment, Corn frequently resorted to gaslighting and had anger management issues.
Corn left ABC in April, soon after its parent company, Walt Disney, announced a new news division president. ABC News said in a statement to Variety that it “disputes the claims made against it and will address this matter in court.”
Stephanopoulos Told Executives About Crawford’s Allegations
Crawford says she told “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos about Corn’s behavior in 2017, and he shared her allegations with ABC executives. Stephanopoulos also suggested to Crawford that she talk with an ABC attorney.
However, a senior publicity director who is now vice president of crisis management at the network told Crawford that if she reported Corn’s behavior, things might get “messy,” the lawsuit claims. So Crawford decided not to file a formal report at that time.
But Crawford says in her lawsuit that ABC executives, once alerted to the problem by Stephanopoulos, should have investigated Corn’s behavior. Belatedly, on the day after Crawford filed her lawsuit, new ABC News President Kim Godwin called for an independent investigation.
“We need an independent person,” Godwin said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “The process has to be independent.”