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‘Good Morning America’ Rocked by Sexual Assault Scandal

‘Good Morning America’ Rocked by Sexual Assault Scandal

Good Morning America is facing a sexual assault scandal after former executive Michael Corn was named in a lawsuit filed by producer Kirstyn Crawford in New York last week. Corn abruptly left the show in April, with no reason given publicly at the time. Over the weekend, Corn was finally replaced with longtime senior producer Simone Swink. Corn has denied the allegations in the lawsuit.

Crawford, who works with GMA co-anchor George Stephanopoulos, claimed Corn assaulted her and another staffer, Jim McClain, on several occasions over many years, Variety reported on Aug. 25. Crawford, who filed the lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, also claimed ABC News did not punish Corn after she reported the alleged assaults.

Left to Right: Robin Roberts, Michael Corn, Diane Sawyer, and Charles Gibson in January 2020. (Photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images)

“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,” the lawsuit reads. Crawford claims ABC News was aware of the alleged assaults as early as 2017, but the network “did nothing to protect” Crawford or “remove Corn from his position of power.” Crawford believed ABC knew of other women who filed complaints against Corn, but ABC News allegedly ignored the complaints as Corn was elevated “through the ranks due to his commercial success as a producer, and facilitated the hostile workplace that Corn cultivated through his influence over subordinates’ careers, sexual harassment, gaslighting, and anger management issues.”

Crawford claims Corn assaulted her in 2015 when they were in Los Angeles to cover the Oscars, according to the lawsuit obtained by NBC News. After telling people within ABC News about the alleged assault, Crawford said Stephanopoulos urged her to report it. Then-senior direct of publicity at GMA Heather Riley “cautioned Crawford that reporting the assault and harassment might get ‘messy,'” according to the lawsuit. Riley is now the vice president of crisis management.

“Between 2010 and 2021, Corn also created and perpetuated a toxic work environment fraught with discrimination against and marginalization of women, including verbal and physical abuse and unwelcome sexualized comments and harassment,” Crawford’s lawsuit reads. She also claimed McClain, a former ABC News producer, was assaulted by Corn during business trips in 2010 and 2011.

Crawford’s lawsuit also includes alleged instances of Corn making inappropriate comments towards female employees. He allegedly called senior female staffers “news nuns.” He also believed E. Jean Carroll’s rape accusation against then-President Donald Trump would not get the same attention Monica Lewinsky did because Caroll was too old. (Trump has denied Carroll’s allegations.)

Corn denied the allegations through his lawyer, Elizabeth Locke. “I vehemently deny any allegations that I engaged in improper sexual contact with another woman,” Corn said, calling Crawford’s claims “demonstrably false.” He included emails between Corn and Crawford on the dates of the alleged assaults, claiming they show the allegations are false and “they belie any notion that Mr. Corn engaged in any misconduct toward Ms. Crawford.”

In the emails, Crawford offered to get Corn food or coffee. “The notion that Ms. Crawford would be cheerily offering to bring Advil, food, and coffee to the man who supposedly had improperly propositioned her just hours before — and in the same hotel room no less — simply defies logic,” Locke told Variety. Corn also said McClain’s allegations were “equally as fabricated.” He said he planned to pursue “all available legal remedies against these women and defending myself vigorously.”

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ABC News also disputed claims made in the lawsuit. “We are committed to upholding a safe and supportive work environment and have a process in place that thoroughly reviews and addresses complaints that are made,” the network said. “ABC News disputes the claims made against it and will address this matter in court.”

After Corn suddenly left in April before former CBS News executive Kim Godwin became ABC News president, he became president for Nexstar’s News Nation. “We have no comment on anything that may or may not have happened prior to Mr. Corn’s employment with Nexstar,” a Nexstar spokesman said.

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