A lawsuit recently filed against former top producer of Good Morning America Michael Corn has reportedly ignited tensions behind the scenes of the ABC morning show, with co-hosts George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts allegedly going at each other over their handling of the claims that their former boss sexually assaulted multiple women, four insiders told The Daily Beast Monday.
Kirstyn Crawford, a producer who works closely with Stephanopoulos on GMA is the person who filed the bombshell lawsuit against Corn, alleging he sexually assaulted her and cultivated a toxic work environment. Corn has denied the allegations against him and ABC has vowed to fight against her claims in court. During a team-wide GMA call, the lawsuit was discussed, and Roberts became emotional, declaring, “If this happened to someone on my team, I would have burned the place down,” multiple people present told The Daily Beast.
The remark was a less-than-subtle jab at Stephanopoulos, whom the lawsuit named as being informed of Crawford’s alleged sexual assault almost four years ago. When Stephanopoulos heard about the comment, he was reportedly “livid,” and Roberts has remained “incensed” about ABC’s handling of the allegations as well as her co-host’s perceived inaction.
Meanwhile, ABC News spokesperson Caragh Fisher said in a statement to The Daily Beast that the two co-stars are “fine,” adding, “She told him personally that she wasn’t referring to him and called the team the next day to reiterate that her comment was not about any one individual.”
Crawford’s allegations about Corn were first raised in November 2017, according to the lawsuit, as the MeToo movement resulted in NBC ousting Matt Lauer and CBS forcing out Charlie Rose over sexual misconduct allegations. The lawsuit alleges that Stephanopoulos spoke with Crawford in his office at that time, telling her he heard she was allegedly assaulted by Corn in Los Angeles in 2015 during a trip to the Academy Awards.
“He grabbed Crawford’s head and pulled it into his chest and kept telling her to ‘just relax’ and kept asking ‘why are you so tense?’” the lawsuit states of the alleged incident, in which Crawford and Corn traveled in an Uber together. “Corn then began kissing Crawford on the head and rubbing her legs. He accused Crawford of being ‘insecure’ and asked her if she had ‘daddy issues.’”
The suit claims that after Stephanopoulos was told his producer was sexually assaulted, he disclosed the matter to Heather Riley, then-senior director of publicity for GMA, Derek Medina, then-senior vice president for business affairs, and Tanya Menton, vice president of litigation. Crawford did discuss the allegations of sexual assault with Riley but, fearing retaliation from the higher-up, did not move forward with a formal complaint.