'Good Morning America': Inappropriate Workplace Relationships Were Rampant, Sources Claim

In the wake of T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach's reported affair and their subsequent firing from ABC, a new story from The Cut alleges that workplace affairs and behind-closed-doors liaisons were the norm at Good Morning AmericaIn the 2010s, current and former employees reported that these relationships among women and men with higher seniority were common at the network (the names of the individuals were changed out of fear of professional consequences). "These sources, women who were all in their 20s when they were first hired, say constant rumors about office hookups, including among the company's top brass, made them feel it was normal to sleep with or date a senior colleague," the outlet reported. "It was very commonplace," said a former GMA staffer. "It felt like everybody was sleeping around." "Staffers worked long, irregular shifts, which made it easier for senior-level men to have relationships with younger women who had no time to date outside work. Ruth, who left GMA in 2019 but is still an ABC News producer, says that show in particular seemed like it was staffed by 'a bunch of horned-up high-school students,' who 'learned how to do news in the '80s when people were still doing blow in the bathroom.'" ABC News often "rewarded the people that were either divas or adulterers," one former GMA staffer told The Cut. "It was very frustrating because there were a lot of people that were doing good work." Sascha, a former low-level staffer who, amid her stressful job, was drawn into an affair with Holmes, said, "it didn't seem crazy to her at the time given what she describes as ABC News's 'rampant culture of sex.'" 

Sascha heard rumors that other colleagues slept together in an edit bay, where a poster covered the window, and that some women were promoted after having affairs with executives. The overnight shift was particularly scandalous, she told the outlet. In an intensely competitive newsroom, women felt their sex lives impacted their career choices. According to the former GMA staffer, ABC News rewarded either divas or adulterers. "It was very frustrating because there were a lot of people that were doing good work." Julie, a former ABC News employee, was confused about why she wasn't advancing within the company despite having the needed qualifications. Her first thought was, "What's wrong with me?" After hearing rumors about a few people who landed more senior positions, she wondered, "if I had slept with someone, would I have been more likely to have gotten one of these jobs?" When sexual advances were not welcome, harassment and misconduct complaints were not always treated sympathetically. GMA's former executive producer, Michael Corn, was accused of sexually assaulting two women in 2021, according to The Cut. The women sued Corn and ABC after filing a formal complaint in 2021, claiming the company "elevated" him through the ranks while failing to renew her three-year contract. Due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the lawsuit was dismissed last year.

A current ABC employee told the outlet the network's newsroom has become less scandalous since Kim Godwin was appointed president in 2021. "Kim has gone out of her way to create a zero-tolerance policy here," said the source who has worked at the network for many years. However, ABC News staffers said Godwin is losing the confidence of the newsroom because of how she handled the incident, according to The Daily Beast. As Ruth pointed out, Holmes, in particular, is a "sacrificial lamb," since office relationships have been a problem for years. After Robach and Holmes were removed from the air, Sascha was relieved and hoped the tabloids would lose interest. Although the network has resolved the issue, she worries it is portraying the former anchors as bad apples rather than acknowledging that their behavior was part of the company culture. "I think that they're more protective of the company's reputation than they are their staffers," she told The Cut. Despite not refuting any specific incidents, an ABC News spokesperson told the outlet, "We do not condone or allow harassment or intimidation of any kind and take these matters very seriously and with immediacy." "Creating a safe, respectful, and professional work environment for everyone has been, and continues to be, a top priority at ABC News," they said.