Sexual assault lawsuit against NewsNation president settled


A sexual assault lawsuit brought by a former ABC “Good Morning America” producer against news executive Michael Corn and the network has been settled.

Previously dismissed and then reinstated on appeal, the 2-year-old lawsuit was resolved Friday with a stipulation of dismissal filing, and no definitive ruling on the facts of the case.

Kirstyn Crawford filed the lawsuit in August 2021 in New York state court, alleging Corn, while he was executive producer of ABC’s top-rated morning news show, sexually assaulted her in February 2015 during a trip to Los Angeles to cover the Academy Awards.

The lawsuit also alleged Corn, who now heads Chicago-based NewsNation, harassed her and created a “pervasive toxic work environment” at ABC News, according to the complaint.

In June 2022, New York State Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe dismissed the lawsuit, ruling the alleged sexual assault was outside the three-year statute of limitations and Corn’s alleged subsequent actions did not support the hostile work environment claim.

But in May, the Appellate Division overturned much of the decision, reinstating the hostile work environment and sex discrimination claims as timely and ruling the alleged facts comprised “a single continuing pattern of unlawful conduct extending into the (limitations) period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.”

A settlement in the matter was then negotiated before ABC filed for the dismissal Friday in New York state court.

In a joint statement, ABC News and Crawford said they have resolved their dispute and the lawsuit was concluded. The network thanked Crawford for “courageously speaking out about her experience at ABC News,” while Crawford thanked ABC News “for its prompt response to her formal complaint in 2021,” the statement read.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Milton Williams, a New York attorney who represented Crawford in the lawsuit, declined to comment Monday.

Michael Corn, former senior executive producer for ABC News' "Good Morning America," is president of news for Chicago-based cable network NewsNation.

The lawsuit alleged Corn, who left ABC in April 2021 and joined NewsNation as president the following month, sexually assaulted “at least” two female employees during his 18 years as a rising producer at ABC. It also claimed ABC swept the alleged sexual assaults under the rug to protect its brand, allowing Corn to land at NewsNation.

Corn denied the allegations in an August 2021 statement issued through his attorney, calling Crawford’s claims “demonstrably false.” His attorney did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

In an October 2021 motion to dismiss, ABC said an internal investigation determined “that it was more likely than not that Corn violated ABC’s policies” and he was “promptly terminated” by the network.

A NewsNation spokesperson declined to comment Monday.

NewsNation, formerly WGN America, was reinvented as a cable news network in September 2020 under Dallas-based owner Nexstar Media Group. It bought WGN America in 2019 as part of its $4.1 billion acquisition of Chicago-based Tribune Media.

Under Corn, the startup cable news channel added former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo to its prime-time lineup last fall, and expanded to 24/7 news programming in April, but its ratings are still lagging its more established competitors.

Cuomo was fired by CNN in December 2021 for allegedly violating network standards by advising his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he navigated sexual harassment allegations. The longtime news anchor is seeking $125 million in damages in an ongoing breach of contract arbitration action against CNN.

NewsNation ranked 66th among all cable networks in prime time during the week of Sept. 25, with an average of 94,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. Fox News ranked first in prime time with nearly 2.2 million viewers, MSNBC was third at more than 1.5 million viewers and CNN ranked eighth with 574,000 viewers.


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