A judge in New York State Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit against former ABC News producer Michael Corn, who was alleged to have sexually assaulted a subordinate and to have created a toxic work environment at ABC News.
In August of last year, Kirstyn Crawford, a producer who worked with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, alleged that Corn, the former top producer at “Good Morning America,” assaulted her and another staffer, Jill McClain, on different occasions over a span of multiple years. Both women reported to Corn, who also for a time supervised “World News Tonight.” Crawford also alleged she lost opportunities to advance at work after she began trying to avoid Corn. After leaving ABC News abruptly last year, Corn was named president of news for NewsNation, a start-up news operation backed by large U.S. station owner Nexstar Media Group.
“We are very pleased that the Court recognized that the claims asserted against Michael have no merit,” said Meredith Cavallaro, an attorney who represents Corn, via email.
The Los Angeles Times previously reported details of the dismissal of the case.
In a court filing, the judge in the case said Crawford had not proven the existence of a hostile work environment. Because the statute of limitations on the alleged assault has lapsed, the foundation of the case was proving that a hostile work environment had developed in the years that followed.
The suit raised eyebrows. Crawford had claimed Corn assaulted her in 2015 during a trip to Los Angeles to cover the Academy Awards. The suit also alleged that Stephanopoulos heard about some of the claims against Corn by Crawford in 2017, and disclosed them to executives and urged Crawford to reach out to an ABC attorney to discuss further. But Crawford, “fearing that making a formal complaint would do more harm than good or even result in losing her job,” did not follow up, according to the suit.
The original suit also levied claims against ABC News, and the judge dismissed some of those as well. But ABC News said in its dismissal motion that Corn had been fired after the company investigated the allegations made against him.