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Disney Says No to Outside Investigation

In August 2021, Kirstyn Crawford filed a lawsuit against ABC and the former head producer of “Good Morning America” (GMA). Crawford, a former producer on the show, accused Michael Corn of sexually assaulting her during a 2015 business trip to the Academy Awards. She also stated that he sexually assaulted another ABC News producer on two occasions. According to the complaint, Corn created a toxic work environment by marginalizing women and subjecting them to verbal and physical abuse, sexualized comments, and unwelcome harassment. She claimed ABC received complaints about Corn for almost ten years but failed to stop his conduct. Crawford said ABC learned of her assault in 2017 but did not protect her or remove Corn from his position. She said GMA host George Stephanopoulos encouraged her to report it, but the director of publicity cautioned her against it because it might get “messy.” ABC has since promoted that director to vice president of crisis management.

Corn left his position at ABC in April; he has denied Crawford’s allegations. Kim Godwin, the president of ABC News, told her staff that she wanted an independent investigation into the allegations against Corn. However, GMA’s executive producer told the staff that the investigation would not be happening right now. Peter Rice, chairman of general entertainment content for The Walt Disney Co., said it was outside his “sphere of influence” to request the probe. In response to the lawsuit, Disney said it upholds safe working environments and has the appropriate processes in place for complaints and investigations. The company disputed Crawford’s claims; it has not commented on the issue of an independent investigation.