Good Morning America is at the center of a lawsuit that threatens to tear the entire show apart. The lawsuit has also divided some of the biggest stars ABC has over the handling of the sexual assault allegations, resulting in reports that two of GMA’s main anchors have been secretly feuding. Here’s what’s up.
ABC Accused Of Fostering Toxic Work Environment
Michael Corn served as the top producer on GMA from 2014 to 2021. He abruptly left ABC in April without any real explanation, but everything is slowly coming to light. Last week a lawsuit was filed against him for sexual assault from producer Kirstyn Crawford. She’s named ABC as a defendant, alleging that the network knew about Corn’s behavior but wouldn’t open an investigation until she filed a formal complaint. The lawsuit states ABC should have investigated Corn years earlier for a separate incident.
The lawsuit claims Corn was sexually abusive toward Jill McClain, another producer, in 2010. McClain has shared her story with Crawford but is not a plaintiff in the case itself. Years later, Crawford alleges that Corn sexually assaulted her in 2015. The lawsuit states: “Both [Crawford] and McClain were traumatized and rendered incapable of reporting the incidents for fear of losing their jobs since Corn was their supervisor.”
How George Stephanopoulos Factors In
Crawford is currently a producer for George Stephanopoulos. The lawsuit states that he learned second hand about the lawsuit in 2017 and urged her to report the incident to ABC. She did not out of fear of retaliation from Corn. Stephanopoulos said the account in this lawsuit is accurate. He continued to work with Corn up until Corn’s departure in 2021.
That’s the part that angers co-anchor Robin Roberts. Reports are coming out that state she and Stephanopoulos are at each other’s throats over his continuing collaboration with Corn, but a spokesperson for the network says this feud is not true. No matter what’s true, it’s safe to say GMA is reeling from this lawsuit.
What Comes Next?
In the wake of the lawsuit, the president of ABC News Kim Godwin ordered an independent investigation into ABC’s handling of the assaults. The hope is a search from outside the house will yield a more truthful investigation. Meanwhile, Corn has moved onto his new job as head of news at Nexstar’s NewsNation. He denies that any of this happened.
This lawsuit could reveal a culture of toxicity at ABC News. It’s sadly an all too familiar story of abuse of power and fear-mongering. Only time will tell what comes of the lawsuit and independent investigation.