The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Disney will not be launching an independent investigation into how ABC handled the sexual assault allegations that have been made against the former executive in charge of Good Morning America, Michael Corn.
Simone Swink, the newly-named ep of GMA, reportedly told staffers at the start of the week that an outside investigation into Corn’s exit “is not happening at this time,” according to a recording of the meeting that was obtained by WSJ.
ABC News president Kim Godwin told staff on Aug. 26 that she had requested an independent investigation into the matter, the day after former GMA producer Kirstyn Crawford filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Corn, alleging he sexually assaulted her and created a hostile work environment at the network’s news division over a number of years. (Corn denies the charges being made against him). However, the decision not to go ahead with an outside investigation was relayed to Godwin, Swink and other top ABC News staffers in a meeting last Friday held by Disney general entertainment chairman Peter Rice. ABC News falls under Rice’s purview.
“Peter said it was beyond his sphere of influence to ask for an outside investigation of the Walt Disney Company,” Swink reportedly said in the recording of Monday’s staff meeting.
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday, Sept. 16 that ABC News staffers had been “livid” that Rice had yet to address them concerning the potential for an independent investigation into the matter.
At least one ABC newser isn’t happy about what has transpired.
WSJ’s Joe Flint writes:
Staffers expressed frustration during Monday’s meeting with the decision not to conduct a probe and with Mr. Rice’s reason for not acting. Staffers were also told in the meeting that Disney’s human-resources department would visit all the news programs in the next few weeks to explain what happens when complaints are filed.
One ABC News staffer in the meeting expressed skepticism about the outreach. “It’s the lack of trust in HR, and if the company isn’t really facing the problems brought up in the lawsuit and isn’t taking accountability, I don’t know what’s to gain from the roadshow and learning how it works,” the employee said.