Friday, August 27, 2021

ABC News President: We Need Indy Investigation of Allegations

Corn, Godwin, Crawford (NY Post Screenshot 8/27/21)

ABC News president Kim Godwin is calling for an independent investigation into how the network handled allegations of sexual assault against a former executive producer of “Good Morning America,” according to Wall Street Journal.

Godwin relayed the request on a conference call to staffers Thursday, a day after a lawsuit was filed against Michael Corn, who is being accused of sexually assaulting a current ABC News staffer, as well as a former network employee in separate incidents.

Corn, who held the top producing role at ratings behemoth “GMA” until this April, has denied wrongdoing and called the claims “fabrications,” citing collegial email exchanges with both women shortly after the incidents were alleged to have occurred, the Journal reported.

ABC, which is also named in the lawsuit, “swept the sexual assault under the rug” to protect Corn, and “did not publicly acknowledge” the producer’s actions, which include complaints of misconduct by several other women, the suit claimed.

“We can’t have us investigating us. We need an independent person,” Godwin said via a recording of the conference call that was leaked to the publication. “The process has to be independent.”

The NY Post reports Godwin, who joined ABC in May from CBS News, wasn’t at the network when Corn departed. She assured ABC News staffers who were involved in handling complaints against Corn that they would get due process, but their roles would be investigated.

The exec, who lived through CBS’ own scandal-ridden past of sexual misconduct under then-CEO Les Moonves, told ABC staffers that she isn’t going to allow “sweeping this under the rug.”

The network is accused of doing nothing to protect an employee who complained about the alleged assault when it learned of it in 2017, according to the suit.

Kirstyn Crawford, 31, an anchor producer for George Stephanopoulos on “GMA,” claimed in court papers that Corn sexually assaulted her after a work party in Los Angeles with the team covering the Academy Awards. 

Despite her efforts to “pull away,” a drunken Corn pulled her head into his chest and began kissing her and rubbing her legs while in an Uber together. During the ride, he “grabbed Crawford’s hand and told her that he wanted to be able to help her with her career,” the court papers say.

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