ABC News President Kim Godwin told staffers on a conference call Thursday that she has requested an independent investigation into how the network handled allegations of sexual assault against the former executive producer of "Good Morning America."
The comments came a day after a lawsuit was filed that alleged the producer, Michael Corn, sexually assaulted a current ABC News staffer and a former staffer in separate incidents. Mr. Corn denied wrongdoing and called the allegations fabrications, citing collegial email exchanges with both women shortly after the incidents were alleged to have occurred. He didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment on Thursday.
"We can’t have us investigating us. We need an independent person," Ms. Godwin said, according to a recording of the conference call. "The process has to be independent."
The lawsuit also named ABC as a defendant, saying the company didn’t adequately respond to complaints of alleged misconduct by Mr. Corn from several women.
On the call, Ms. Godwin said the ABC News staffers who were involved in handling complaints against Mr. Corn would get due process, but their role would be probed.
Ms. Godwin joined ABC News in May from CBS News and wasn’t there when Mr. Corn departed in mid-April. She told staffers she isn’t going to be "sweeping this under the rug." She said she has heard from enough people over the past day "to know we have a problem."
An ABC News spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a statement Wednesday, an ABC spokeswoman said, "We are committed to upholding a safe and supportive work environment and have a process in place that thoroughly reviews and addresses complaints that are made. ABC News disputes the claims made against it and will address this matter in court."