Disney has no plans to investigate how ABC handled accusations against former top news producer: report
Disney, the parent company of ABC, reportedly is not and has no plans to investigate how the network handled allegations of sexual harassment and assault by a former top producer at the network.
Simone Swink, the current executive producer of “Good Morning America,” told staffers during a meeting this week that a probe into the exit of Michael Corn, who formerly held her position, “is not happening at this time,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing a recording of Swink’s remarks.
Peter Rice, Disney’s chairman of general entertainment content who heads the company’s news division, said “it was beyond his sphere of influence to ask for an outside investigation of the Walt Disney Company,” Swink told staffers.
Corn sexually harassed and assaulted multiple employees during his career at ABC from 2010 to 2021, according to a lawsuit filed against him and the network by a current employee. He has denied all of the allegations and said he intends to defend himself in court.
One employee, Kirstyn Crawford, has also accused ABC News of retaliating against her after she shared allegations of sexual assault against Corn, which the network has denied doing.
Late last month, ABC News President Kim Godwin told staffers that she would request an independent investigation of the Corn matter and the culture at the organization.
“We can’t have us investigating us. We need an independent person,” Godwin said. “The process has to be independent.”
Godwin’s superiors at the network and Disney were caught off guard by both the request and her decision to go public about it, the Journal reported.
Rice reportedly informed Godwin, Swink and other top ABC staffers last Friday that an independent probe would not be moving forward.
The Journal reported that Swink said her “understanding right now is that nothing is going to be done” because ABC is a defendant in the employee’s lawsuit.
ABC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Corn left ABC News earlier this year and is now president of news for the Nexstar Media Group’s cable channel NewsNation. The Nexstar Media Group acquired The Hill late last month.
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