Disney held unsuccessful mediation talks with alleged sexual-assault victims

Walt Disney Co. and its ABC unit held unsuccessful mediation talks in June with the 2 ladies who’ve alleged they had been sexually assaulted by a former ABC Information government, folks with data of the matter stated.

The claims in opposition to the chief, former “Good Morning America” producer Michael Corn, surfaced final week in a lawsuit filed by one of many ladies, ABC Information producer Kirstyn Crawford. Mr. Corn has denied wrongdoing and known as the allegations fabrications. 

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The swimsuit additionally named ABC as a defendant, alleging that the community had obtained complaints about Mr. Corn’s conduct from a number of ladies over roughly a decade however did not take disciplinary motion. 

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The mediation talks got here after Disney concluded an investigation into the ladies’s allegations in opposition to Mr. Corn, folks near the corporate and the alleged victims stated.

Mr. Corn was pushed out by ABC Information in April, the folks stated. When Mr. Corn left the corporate after a virtually two-decade tenure, neither he nor ABC gave a purpose for his departure.

An lawyer for Mr. Corn did not reply to requests for touch upon Sunday.

ABC Information stated in an announcement final week that it “disputes the claims made in opposition to it and can deal with this matter in court docket.”

Former “Good Morning America” producer Michael Corn. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC through Getty Photographs / Getty Photographs)

Within the lawsuit, filed Aug. 25 in New York state court docket, Ms. Crawford accused Mr. Corn of sexually assaulting her on a reporting journey in 2015 in Los Angeles. The incidents came about in an Uber experience after a celebration and later at their lodge, she alleged.

The swimsuit additionally alleges that former ABC Information producer Jill McClain was sexually assaulted by Mr. Corn when the 2 labored at ABC’s “World Information Tonight” roughly a decade in the past. Ms. McClain is not a plaintiff within the swimsuit however is supporting Ms. Crawford’s case, in accordance with the grievance. Ms. McClain left ABC Information in 2013. 

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Mr. Corn has cited collegial emails from Ms. Crawford, despatched the day after the alleged incident, and pleasant interactions with Ms. McClain, as proof that he did not assault both lady. “These should not the phrases and actions of a girl who had been assaulted,” Mr. Corn stated within the assertion in reference to each ladies.

The swimsuit alleged that ABC officers realized of Ms. Crawford’s allegations in 2017 however failed to research the matter on the time. In line with the swimsuit, “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos was instructed by a 3rd social gathering in regards to the alleged incident and instructed ABC officers, together with Tanya Menton, an ABC lawyer who handles litigation and worker relations.

An investigation was launched into Mr. Corn’s conduct in February 2021 after Ms. Crawford and Ms. McClain filed formal complaints to the corporate, the swimsuit stated.

FMR. TOP PRODUCER OF ABC’S ‘GOOD MORNING AMERICA’ ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT IN LAWSUIT

Ms. Menton did not reply to requests for remark. Mr. Stephanopoulos stated the swimsuit is correct concerning his actions.

ABC Information President Kim Godwin, who began weeks after Mr. Corn’s departure, instructed workers on a convention name final Thursday that she has requested for an impartial investigation into how the community dealt with the allegations in opposition to Mr. Corn.

“We will not have us investigating us. We’d like an impartial individual,” Ms. Godwin stated, in accordance with a recording of the decision. “The method needs to be impartial.”

Some ABC Information insiders had been cheered by her remarks, however her superiors at ABC and Disney had been caught off-guard by her feedback, folks aware of the scenario stated. Disney hasn’t commented on whether or not it could pursue such an investigation.

Ms. Godwin did not reply to a request for remark.