MICHAEL Corn abruptly left ABC News in April 2021, after spending seven years as an executive producer on Good Morning America.
Corn's departure came the day after the Walt Disney-owned unit announced that Kim Godwin, a longtime executive at CBS News, was hired to run the division.
Who is former Good Morning America producer Michael Corn?
Corn is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Before his heydays on Good Morning America, Corn was the executive producer of World News at ABC alongside Diane Sawyer from 2011 to 2014.
In 2014, Corn became a senior executive producer at GMA and led the show during its run as the most-watched network morning program.
However, on April 15, 2021, Corn unexpectedly left GMA to join Nexstar’s NewsNation.
In May, the Dallas-based company announced that Corn would become the president of news for its national channel, replacing Jennifer Lyons, who departed the operation in March just seven months after its launch.
NewsNation is based in Chicago at Nexstar’s WGN headquarters and uses the resources of the parent company’s TV stations across the country.
“Michael is a talented, innovative producer and executive with more than 25 years of network experience in the news business,” Sean Compton, president of Nexstar’s networks division, said in a statement at the time.
“He has built award-winning news broadcasts and understands NewsNation’s mission to provide our audience with fact-based news without bias.”
What has he been accused of?
On August 25, the Wall Street Journal reported that an ABC News staffer filed a lawsuit against Corn, alleging he sexually assaulted her and fostered a toxic work environment.
Kirstyn Crawford, a producer on the morning show, alleged that Corn assaulted her in 2015 during a business trip to Los Angeles to cover the Academy Awards – the outlet reported citing the suit filed in New York state court.
According to the suit, during an Uber ride back to their hotel after a party, Corn allegedly forcibly touched Crawford, kissed her head and rubbed her legs, telling her he wanted to help her with her career.
When they got to the hotel, Crawford brought Corn Advil in his room, at his request, the suit claims.
The lawsuit alleges that he asked her to sit on the bed, which she did because she feared that he would “lash out” at her if she said no.
Corn allegedly grabbed her arm and pulled her head onto his chest and began kissing the top of her head, the suit claims says, adding that she was able to pull away after a few minutes and left for her room.
As a producer, Crawford worked under Corn.
Per the Journal, the suit also alleges that former ABC News producer Jill McClain was sexually assaulted by Corn when the two worked at ABC’s “World News Tonight” roughly a decade ago.
According to the complaint, McClain isn’t a plaintiff in the suit but supports Crawford’s case.
The suit says several other women at ABC reported complaints about Corn’s behavior to the network, including allegations ranging from bullying to sexual harassment.
However, the lawsuit doesn’t name the other alleged victims.
ABC is named a defendant in the suit, alleging that the company received complaints about Corn’s conduct from several women, going back roughly a decade, but failed to take disciplinary action.
According to the suit, ABC officials learned of Crawford’s allegations in 2017 – but only launched an investigation into Corn’s conduct after Crawford and McClain filed formal complaints to the company in February 2021.
Crawford, a producer for GMA co-anchor George Stephanopoulos, seeks unspecified damages, citing emotional and physical distress, among other fallouts from the alleged incident.
According to the suit, in November 2017, Stephanopoulos allegedly became aware through a third party of the alleged assault and notified Tanya Menton, an ABC lawyer who handles litigation and employee relations; Derek Medina, a senior executive at GMA and Heather Riley, then a publicist for the program.
The suit states, Crawford decided not to speak with Menton after a conversation with Riley, who allegedly told her reporting the assault and harassment might get “messy".
Crawford feared a formal complaint would “do more harm than good or even result in losing her job,” the suit says.
Representatives for ABC News nor Riley did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Sun.
Has Michael Corn responded to the claims?
In a statement to the Journal, Corn said that he "vehemently denies any allegation that he engaged in improper sexual contact with another woman."
The former GMA producer called Crawford and McClain's allegations "fabrication" and said he would be defending himself “vigorously”.
A Nexstar spokesman told the outlet, “We have no comment on anything that may or may not have happened prior to Mr. Corn’s employment with Nexstar.”
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