Disney’s Sexual Assault Disaster at ABC Continues, “Painful” Ramifications

in Movies & TV

michael corn with gma hosts

Credit: ABC News

Over the course of the last several months, numerous reports regarding former Good Morning America producer Michael Corn’s abrupt exit from ABC have surfaced, none of them good for the ex-network executive.

CORPORATE - MICHAEL CORN, ABC News
Credit: ABC News

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The situation began when ABC staffer Kristyn Crawford accused Corn of sexually assaulting her on a work trip to Los Angeles to cover the Academy Awards in 2015. At the time, The New York Times reported:

In the suit, which was filed in New York State court, Ms. Crawford said Mr. Corn had assaulted her during an Uber ride and in a hotel. The assaults traumatized Ms. Crawford, a producer for George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” and caused her career to stall, according to the complaint.

good morning america promo shot
Credit: ABC News

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The situation quickly turned ugly, with Crawford claiming that Disney and ABC “retaliated” against her following the accusations

In September, Fox News reported that Crawford altered her lawsuit with the New York State Supreme Court, alleging that The Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC News, punished her for speaking out against Corn:

The amended version claims that Crawford’s contract as a producer for “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos was not renewed after she spoke out against the network’s handling of her claims.

“After Crawford complained of Corn’s sexual harassment and a hostile work environment to ABC, ABC retaliated against her by not offering her the job security and salary increase that she deserved,” the complaint claims.

good morning america cast
Credit: ABC News

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Another report in the fall indicated that the major lawsuit against Corn had GMA hosts George Stephanopolous and Robin Roberts at “each other’s throats”, though this remains unconfirmed by any of the involved parties even today. What has been clear, however, is that the situation has been contentious at best, with Disney allegedly “infuriated” at ABC’s handling of the sexual assault investigation.

GOOD MORNING AMERICA - A new set is unveiled on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 9/8/16, airing on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Ida Mae Astute) MICHAEL STRAHAN, ROBIN ROBERTS, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, AMY ROBACH, AUDIENCE
Credit: ABC News

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Now, The Times has published an update regarding the situation, including the latest on Ms. Crawford’s employment with The Walt Disney Company subsidiary.

Per the new report, Ms. Crawford was left with “painful” emotional ramifications following Mr. Corn’s departure, as the real reason for his exit was never publicly stated in an official capacity:

After ABC investigated the allegations against Mr. Corn, the network announced his departure with no explanation. Its written statement on April 15 said, “Michael Corn no longer works for ABC News.”

ABC staffers were stunned, and some were angry about his removal for no stated reason, people inside ABC News said. The moment was painful for Ms. Crawford, who was upset that her colleagues didn’t know the real reasons behind Mr. Corn’s exit, people familiar with her thinking said.

robin roberts (left) and george stephanopolous (right) on good morning america set
Credit: ABC

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The article goes on to note that Ms. Crawford was ultimately offered a long-term contract extension at ABC, but that “Ms. Crawford rejected the latest offer and resigned from ABC News this month.”

At this time neither Disney nor ABC has publicly commented specifically on Ms. Crawford’s allegations against Mr. Corn. However, ABC has denied any form of retaliation, and a new GMA executive producer, Simone Swink, was appointed on August 29, 2021, following Mr. Corn’s abrupt exit in April 2021.

Stay tuned to ITM for more on this story as it continues to develop.

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