ABC staffer accuses network of retaliation following sexual assault complaint

ABC staffer accuses network of retaliation following sexual assault complaint
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A staffer at ABC News is accusing the network of retaliating against her after she shared allegations of sexual assault against a former top producer at the company. 

Kirstyn Crawford, who is still employed by ABC News, in an amended filing in New York state court on Wednesday alleges the network didn’t renew her three-year contract until four months after she formally reported the behavior of Michael Corn, a former executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America" and "World News Tonight." 

Instead, the lawsuit alleges, ABC offered Crawford a six-month extension in July with no raise. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Wednesday's amended filing. 

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Crawford alleged in a lawsuit filed last month that Corn sexually harassed and assaulted her and multiple employees during his career at the network from 2010 to 2021. Corn left ABC News earlier this year and is now president of news for Nexstar Media Group's cable channel NewsNation. Nexstar Media Group acquired The Hill late last month.

"In the last five years since the sexual assault, Crawford struggled to approach Corn to discuss standard matters such as raises or promotions without extreme stress," the amended lawsuit filed Wednesday reads. "In many instances, Crawford declined to approach Corn regarding career matters because she did not want to be alone in a room with him. As a result, she was unable to advocate for her career, which directly detracted from her success at ABC." 

Corn has denied the allegations against him, and when Crawford's lawsuit was initially filed, ABC said it was “committed to upholding a safe and supportive work environment and have a process in place that thoroughly reviews and addresses complaints that are made" and planned to "address this matter in court."

In a statement to The Hill late Wednesday night, ABC News denied Crawford's assertion that it retaliated against her after she made allegations against Corn.

“Ms. Crawford’s most recent allegation that ABC retaliated against her in connection with her contract negotiations is untrue," a spokesperson for the company said.

After news of Crawford's lawsuit against Corn broke, the president of ABC News told staffers she wanted an independent investigation into the allegations against the company and its former top producer. 

“We can’t have us investigating us. We need an independent person,” Kim Godwin said on a conference call. “The process has to be independent.”

--Updated on Sept. 16 at 7:41 a.m.