There seems to be some turmoil within The Walt Disney Company, as several high-ranking executives are reportedly furious at ABC News President Kim Godwin over a possible sexual assault investigation, according to CNN Business‘ Oliver Darcy.
Darcy reports that Godwin, who assumed her role less than six months ago, has been calling for an independent third-party investigation concerning the handling of allegations of sexual assault against former Good Morning America boss Michael Corn. This has supposedly angered Disney General Entertainment Content Chairman Peter Rice as well as the company’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Alan Braverman, even though Godwin wasn’t even with ABC when the allegations first surfaced. Those allegations have spun into a lawsuit against Corn, as well as several lower-level executives.
But it seems the folks at ABC News also have reason to be upset with Disney. According to Darcy, the division is facing low morale, as Rice hasn’t made himself available to address their concerns. The Culture Council, a group selected by their peers to work with leadership to bring change to the company, have reportedly asked Rice to “personally address the News Division” about recent events that have affected them, and they have been given no response, saying that Rice has been “a ghost.”
Brian Stelter, a colleague of Darcy’s at CNN, added that while Godwin was not with ABC when the allegations were leveled, Rice was with Disney at the time, saying:
Oliver and I are both hearing versions of this same question from inside ABC News: ‘Who knew what when?’ Godwin was not at ABC when the alleged incidents at ‘GMA’ took place. But lower-level execs were. Several of them were named in the lawsuit. Who was there when formal complaints were lodged with the company in February to the company? Rice. One of my sources pointed out that rumors relating to Corn’s abrupt departure have been circulating for months. So none of this newfound controversy should have been surprising to Disney. ‘We were supposed to be a network where the culture was changing,’ one veteran ABCer said to me with a sigh…
Godwin remains steadfastly committed to a probe into the allegations, saying in a memo, “we are going to invest in additional resources to support our group, and call upon both internal and external expertise to help guide us,” while praising the work of The Culture Council.