Lawsuit against former ABC News exec Michael Corn is dismissed after producer accused him of hostile work environment, sexual harassment and improper sexual contact after statute of limitations expires
- A lawsuit accusing Michael Corn of sexual assault and creating a toxic work environment was dismissed by a NY State Supreme Court judge Wednesday
- The 2021 suit, which alleged 2015 assault, was passed the statute of limitations
- The judge ruled accuser Kirstyn Crawford, a former GMA producer, did not prove Corn fostered a hostile work environment after the attack
- Crawford needed to prove Corn retaliated against her in the years following the attack in order for the alleged assault to be considered by the court
- Corn, who denies the allegations, is ‘very pleased’ by the judge’s ruling
- Crawford plans to appeal the decision, her attorney alleged
A lawsuit accusing a former ABC News executive of sexual assault and creating a toxic work environment has been dismissed by a New York State Supreme Court judge.
Former Good Morning America producer Kirstyn Crawford, 31, accused former longtime executive producer Michael Corn of forcibly touching and kissing her while the pair were in Los Angeles to cover the 2015 Oscars. She claims the assault occurred during an Uber ride.
Judge Barbara Jaffe dismissed the suit on Wednesday, ruling the three-year statute of limitations on the alleged assault had passed.
The judge also argued the behaviors described in Crawford’s suit did not prove Corn fostered a hostile work environment after the alleged incident.
Crawford’s lawyer told The Wall Street Journal she plans to appeal the ruling.
A New York State Supreme Court judge dismissed a law suit accusing former ABC News executive producer Michael Corn of sexual assault and creating a toxic work environment
Crawford filed the suit against Corn in August 2021, well past the three-year statute of limitations on the assault allegation.
In order for the alleged assault to be considered by the court, Crawford needed to prove that Corn created a hostile work environment in the years that followed.
Jaffe argued that while some of the remarks Corn allegedly made were ‘boorish, ill-advised, and inappropriate,’ the comments ‘do not create a hostile work environment, much less a continuing violation.’
Corn, who has denied the allegations, did not immediately respond to request for comment on the case’s dismissal.
However, his attorney, Meredith Cavallaro, on Wednesday told The Los Angeles Times they applauded the ruling.
‘We are very pleased the Court recognized the complete lack of merit to the claims brought against Mr. Corn,’ she said.
Corn left Abc News in April 2021 as a result of an internal investigation into Crawford’s allegations.
Last October, in a filing to dismiss Crawford’s suit, ABC News said Crawford had been terminated after an ‘investigation determined that it was more likely than not that Corn violated ABC’s policies.’
He is currently the head of programming at Chicago-based NewsNation, owned by Nexstar Media Group.
Crawford is no longer employed at ABC after opting not to renew her contract.
Representatives for Crawford, Corn, ABC News and Nexstar did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
The suit, filed by former Good Morning America producer Kirstyn Crawford, alleged Cprn forcibly touched and kissed her while the pair were in Los Angeles to cover the 2015 Oscars
Crawford’s suit alleged Corn kissed her head and rubbed her legs without her consent while the pair were on a business trip to Los Angeles to cover the 87th Academy Awards.
‘Corn grabbed Crawford’s hand and told her that he wanted to be able to help her with her career,’ the lawsuit says.
The pair had just left a company party, and when they got back to the hotel, Crawford helped him to his room, where Corn allegedly pulled her head onto his chest and pet her hair.
He also allegedly stumbled into her room drunk and laid down on her bed, leaving her ‘shaking; she was terrified,’ according to the lawsuit.
After the incident she avoided traveling with him on business and ‘lost work opportunities as a result,’ the complaint stated.
Crawford also alleged Corn withheld raises and promotions, as well as created a hostile work environment as retaliation for her ‘rebuffing’ his sexual advances.
She was about 25 years old at the time of the alleged attack.
The judge dismissed the suit on Wednesday, ruling the three-year statute of limitations on the alleged assault had passed. The judge also argued the behaviors described in the suit did not prove Corn fostered a hostile work environment after the alleged incident. Michael Corn (second from left) is pictured in January 2020 with Robin Roberts (left), Diane Sawyer (second from right) and Charles Gibson (right)
Emails from the morning after the alleged incident, which Crawford said happened in the back of an Uber and then at the hotel, undermine what she says in the lawsuit.
She said that the morning afterwards, ‘not only did Corn fail to acknowledge his inappropriate and inexcusable behavior, but he was also dismissive and rude to Crawford, which made Crawford feel self-conscious and uncomfortable.’
She also claimed ‘the Monday after the sexual assault incident against Crawford, Corn was particularly terse.
‘He exploded at Crawford, because Stephanopoulos decided he wanted to leave the show early and head home, which was something he did regularly. Corn yelled at Crawford that she had failed at her one job of ensuring that Stephanopoulos remained at the studio.
‘Corn later tried to apologize, and acknowledge that Crawford only has so much control, but this continued a pattern of harassing Crawford.’
Emails from the morning after paint a picture of a friendlier relationship.
Among the many exchanged between the pair, Crawford wrote in one message: ‘Hahaha why are you so great.’
Emails from the morning after the alleged incident paint a picture of a friendlier relationship
The lawsuit also included a story from Jill McClain, who worked with Corn on World News Tonight in 2010. She claimed to have been assaulted under ‘eerily similar circumstances several years prior.’
During a red-eye flight from Los Angeles, McClain said Corn ‘slid his hand from [her] upper right thigh to her vagina, and began rubbing her vagina, over her jeans.’
ABC officials learned of Crawford’s allegations in 2017, but an investigation into Corn’s conduct was only launched after Crawford and McClain filed formal complaints to the company in February 2021, according to the lawsuit.
Corn was terminated in April following an internal investigation.
Crawford’s lawsuit also alleged Corn had a pattern of verbally abusive tirades, which left her feeling like she ‘walked on eggshells, unsure of when Corn would explode.’
‘Corn would waffle between berating Crawford publicly and emailing her privately about personal and confidential matters to make her feel like she was some sort of confidante,’ the lawsuit said.
McClain added her story to the lawsuit in support of Crawford, but was not an official party in the case.
After the incident where he allegedly rubbed her vagina on the plane from Los Angeles, McClain, who was 24 and recently engaged at the time, claimed Corn made more inappropriate comments towards her.
‘Corn – unprompted – turned to McClain and said words to the effect of, ‘I hope your marriage is better than mine. I wish my wife was more like you. Wouldn’t it be great if the two of us could catch a flight somewhere else and spend the rest of the weekend together?’ according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also included a story from Jill McClain (pictured), who worked with Corn on World News Tonight in 2010. She claimed to have been assaulted under ‘eerily similar circumstances several years prior.’ McClain added her story to the lawsuit in support of Crawford, but was not an official party in the case
McClain alleged Corn assaulted her again in April 2011 while the pair were in London covering the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. She claimed Corn was ‘visibly intoxicated’ and followed her to her room after they left the bar.
‘In a disturbing parallel to what he would say to Crawford four years later, Corn told McClain that he cared more about her career than Sawyer ever would,’ the lawsuit says.
He knocked on her door, pushed his way into the room, pinned her against a wall, and started kissing her face and neck, the lawsuit said.
‘McClain froze and had a flashback to the assault on the plane. Corn backed McClain into the room, pushed her down onto the bed on her back, and got on top of her.
‘Corn then grabbed the top of McClain’s jumpsuit as well as her bra and pulled them both down, exposing McClain’s bare breasts. Corn began fondling McClain’s bare chest.
‘McClain mustered all of the strength that she could and managed to push him off of her. She yelled at Corn to leave, and Corn left the room in a huff. McClain felt violated and was in shock; she took the clothes that she was wearing and threw them in the trash.’
McClain left her ‘dream job’ at ABC in 2013, citing a hostile work environment.
‘For one thing, McClain did not feel that she could safely report Corn’s conduct for fear that Corn would retaliate. But also, the prevailing hostile work environment between men and women at ABC made McClain feel that a future at ABC was unmanageable,’ the lawsuit stated.