Fmr. leading producer of ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ accused of sexual assault in lawsuit

An ABC News staffer submitted a lawsuit Wednesday towards Michael Corn, the previous top rated producer of “Fantastic Early morning America,” alleging he sexually assaulted her and fostered a harmful function setting.

Kirstyn Crawford, a producer on the morning demonstrate, alleged that Mr. Corn assaulted her in 2015 throughout a enterprise vacation to Los Angeles, in accordance to the suit, which was filed in New York point out court docket.

The match also alleges that previous ABC News producer Jill McClain was sexually assaulted by Mr. Corn when the two labored at ABC’s “World Information Tonight” approximately a decade in the past. Ms. McClain isn’t a plaintiff in the go well with, but is supporting Ms. Crawford’s situation, according to the complaint.

The match also names ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co. DIS -.29% , as a defendant, alleging the corporation gained complaints about Mr. Corn’s perform from several women, likely back again roughly a ten years, but failed to acquire disciplinary motion.

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ABC officers discovered of Ms. Crawford’s allegations in 2017, but only introduced an investigation into Mr. Corn’s perform following Ms. Crawford and Ms. McClain submitted formal grievances to the firm in February of this yr, in accordance to the fit.

Mr. Corn remaining the enterprise in April. Neither ABC nor Mr. Corn delivered a reason for his exit. In Might, Mr. Corn joined Nexstar Media Team Inc. NXST -.15% as president of NewsNation, the a few-hour evening nationwide newscast that airs on the WGN-Tv set cable channel.

Mr. Corn and his lawyer didn’t promptly react to requests for comment. Reps for ABC Information, Disney and Nexstar did not instantly react to requests for remark.

Mr. Corn, as senior executive producer of “Fantastic Early morning The united states,” was a single of the most highly effective folks in tv news. The demonstrate is the major-rated early morning news application and the largest generator of promoting earnings for ABC Information. Mr. Corn experienced been executive producer of “GMA” considering the fact that 2014.

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Prior to that, he was govt producer of “Globe Information Tonight” when Diane Sawyer was anchor. At the time of his departure from the community, Mr. Corn was a member of the Workplace of the President of ABC Information.

Ms. Crawford, who is a producer for “Fantastic Morning The usa” co-anchor George Stephanopoulos, is seeking unspecified damages, citing psychological and bodily distress, amongst other fallout from the alleged incident.

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In the match, she alleges that an inebriated Mr. Corn assaulted her throughout a excursion to Los Angeles in 2015 to go over the Academy Awards. All through an Uber journey again to their lodge just after a occasion, Mr. Corn forcibly touched Ms. Crawford, kissing her head and rubbing her legs, telling her he wanted to help her with her profession, in accordance to the go well with. As a producer, Ms. Crawford worked under Mr. Corn.

When they got to the resort, Ms. Crawford introduced Mr. Corn Advil in his room, at his request, according to the accommodate. He asked her to sit on the mattress, which she did due to the fact she feared if she mentioned no he would “lash out” at her, the fit states. Mr. Corn grabbed her arm and pulled her head on to his chest and started kissing the best of her head, the match says, introducing that she was equipped to pull away soon after a couple minutes and still left for her space.

In November 2017, Mr. Stephanopoulos became informed by a 3rd social gathering of the alleged assault and notified Tanya Menton, an ABC lawyer who handles litigation and staff relations Derek Medina, a senior govt at “Excellent Early morning The us” and Heather Riley, then a publicist for the system, according to the match.

Ms. Crawford made a decision not to communicate with Ms. Menton just after a discussion with Ms. Riley, who instructed her reporting the assault and harassment could possibly get “messy,” in accordance to the suit. Ms. Crawford feared a official criticism would “do more hurt than very good or even outcome in shedding her job,” the fit suggests.

Ms. Menton, Mr. Medina and Ms. Riley, who is now a vice president of disaster administration communications and strategic initiatives for ABC Information, didn’t quickly respond to requests for remark. Mr. Stephanopoulos declined to comment.

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Whilst Ms. Crawford did not file a official criticism at the time, underneath Disney’s guidelines an investigation really should have been launched once executives ended up notified of the alleged incident, according to the fit.

In accordance to the suit, Mr. Corn assaulted Ms. McClain on a crimson-eye flight in 2010, groping her and rubbing her vagina by her jeans. Ms. McClain turned her body towards the window and pretended to fall asleep, the go well with states. All through a independent vacation to London in 2011, an intoxicated Mr. Corn pressured his way into her hotel home, pushed her onto the bed and “grabbed the prime of McClain’s jumpsuit as nicely as her bra and pulled them the two down,” fondling her breasts, in accordance to the go well with. Ms. McClain pushed Mr. Corn off and yelled at him to depart, which he did, the match claims.

Ms. McClain didn’t file a criticism about the alleged incidents at the time. Years later, on New Year’s Eve 2020, Ms. McClain was speaking with Ms. Sawyer, with whom she experienced worked on “Planet Information Tonight,” and she thorough the alleged encounters, according to the match. Ms. Sawyer instructed Ms. McClain that she really should report the alleged incidents to ABC and also explained to Ms. Menton, the ABC attorney, of Ms. McClain’s allegations, in accordance to the match.

Ms. Sawyer did not quickly react to a ask for for comment.

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Ms. Crawford and Ms. McClain related with just about every other in January of this year and later submitted their problems, triggering ABC’s probe, according to the match.

The accommodate claims several other women of all ages at ABC noted problems about Mr. Corn’s conduct to the community, including allegations ranging from bullying to sexual harassment. The go well with does not identify the other alleged victims.