ABC News President Calls For Independent Sex Abuse Investigation After GMA Producer Sued For Groping
The ABC News president is calling for an independent investigation into the network’s handling of sexual assault claims a day after a lawsuit alleging a senior Good Morning America producer assaulted two female staffers.
President Kim Goodwin said she will not “sweep this under the rug” and that she has heard enough “to know we have a problem” in a conference call with staff on Thursday, according to the report. Wall Street Journal.
Kirstyn Crawford, 31, says former GMA senior producer Michael Corn kissed her head and rubbed her legs in an Uber without her permission in 2015, when she would have been about 25 years old.
They were on a business trip to Los Angeles to cover the Academy Awards, according to the lawsuit filed with the New York District Court on Wednesday.
“Corn grabbed Crawford’s hand and told her he wanted to help her with her career,” the lawsuit said.
The couple had just left a company party and when they got back to the hotel Crawford helped him to his room, where Corn reportedly pulled her head to his chest and stroked her hair.
He would also have stumbled drunkenly into her room and lay down on her bed, leaving her ‘trembling’; she was terrified,” the lawsuit said.
Corn has denied the allegations, calling them all fabrications.
ABC News President Kim Goodwin Says She’s Heard Enough ‘To Know We Have a Problem’
A lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York alleges that former Good Morning America senior producer Michael Corn, above, sexually harassed two employees during business trips
Kirstyn Crawford says Corn kissed her head, rubbed her legs and burst into her room drunk during a trip to Los Angeles to cover the Oscars in 2015, when she was about 25 years old.
Jill McClain, who worked with Corn on another show, says the producer rubbed her vagina on her jeans during a red-eye flight from Los Angeles in 2010.
Goodwin, the president of ABC News, joined the network in May of this year after Corn had already left in April. Neither he nor the company gave a reason for his departure.
Goodwin said the investigation would also look at the employees handling complaints against Corn.
Crawford is currently an “anchor producer” on Good Morning America.
The lawsuit also includes a story from Jill McClain, who worked with Corn on World News Tonight in 2010, and says she was attacked under “eerily similar circumstances” several years earlier.
During a red-eye flight from Los Angeles, McClain says Corn let his hand slide out of the sky [her] right thigh to her vagina, and started rubbing her jeans over her vagina.’
ABC officials learned of Crawford’s allegations in 2017, but an investigation into Corn’s conduct wasn’t launched until after Crawford and McClain filed formal complaints with the company in February, according to the lawsuit.
Crawford, who filed the suit, worked with Corn as a producer on ABC’s Good Morning America. She’s still there, but Corn left for no reason before he left in April this year
‘We cannot allow ourselves to be examined. We need an independent person,” Godwin, the president of ABC News, told a conference call on Thursday.
“The process must be independent.”
Crawford’s lawsuit alleges that Corn had a pattern of verbally abusive diatribes that left her with the feeling that she “walked on eggshells, unsure when Corn would explode.
“Corn hesitated between publicly berating Crawford and emailing her privately about personal and confidential matters to make her feel like some kind of confidante,” the lawsuit said.
McClain added her story to the lawsuit in support of Crawford, but she is not an official party.
After the incident where he rubbed her vagina on the plane from Los Angeles, McClain, then 24 and recently engaged, alleges more inappropriate comments from Corn.
Corn – unsolicited – turned to McClain and said words along the lines of, “I hope your marriage is better than mine. I wish my wife was more like you. Wouldn’t it be great if the two of us could catch a flight go somewhere else and spend the rest of the weekend together?” according to the lawsuit.
McClain says Corn attacked her again in April 2011 while the couple were in London to cover the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
She says Corn was “visibly drunk” and followed her to her room after they left the bar.
McClain says Corn attacked her again during a trip to London for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding in 2011. Above, Middleton heads for Westminster Abbey
“In a disturbing parallel to what he would say to Crawford four years later, Corn McClain said he cared more about her career than Sawyer ever would,” the lawsuit says.
He knocked on her door, made his way into the room, pinned her to a wall and began kissing her face and neck, the lawsuit says.
“McClain froze and had a flashback to the attack on the plane. Corn pulled McClain into the room on his back, pushed her onto her back on the bed and sat on top of her.
Corn then grabbed the top of McClain’s jumpsuit and her bra and pulled them both down, revealing McClain’s bare breasts. Corn began to caress McClain’s bare chest.
“McClain gathered all the strength she could and managed to push him off her. She yelled at Corn to leave, and Corn left the room in frustration. McClain felt violated and in shock; she took the clothes she was wearing and threw them in the trash.’
McClain left her “dream job” at ABC in 2013, citing a hostile work environment.
“For one thing, McClain didn’t feel she could safely report Corn’s behavior for fear that Corn would retaliate. But also the hostile work environment between men and women at ABC made McClain feel that a future at ABC was unmanageable,” the lawsuit said.