Apparently, T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach’s affair scandal was only a small part of the problem of what went down behind the scenes at ABC News!
Per a new report:
When the former GMA3: What You Need To Know anchors’ relationship started to make headlines late last year, the 45-year-old journalist was accused of being involved in at least three other workplace romances – two of which were with junior staff members. His extramarital activities with the woman at GMA were even said to be predatory as he “took full advantage of his position” and younger employees. But it turns out the T.J. situation was only the tip of the iceberg at ABC!
In a new report from The Cut on Tuesday, a former digital news associate, identified as Sascha, came forward to share she had an affair with T.J. while working with him at ABC News. When Sascha began working the graveyard shift with the host in 2014, she alleged that he took interest in her and started flirting with her after asking to help him set up an Instagram account. He allegedly wrote in an email:
“I’m learning a lot about you. I might actually like you.”
They started to become closer despite him being married to his now-estranged wife, Marilee Fiebig. Sascha claimed T.J. expressed a “crazy amount of interest” in her personal life, and it often felt like he was “the only person in the building who took me seriously” while she was working as a low-level employee. Things soon escalated between them when he invited her to a hotel near ABC’s Upper West Side headquarters. During their breaks, she would often hook up with T.J. in his office. Despite the obvious power imbalance, Sascha told the outlet she “didn’t even think about power dynamics” or question the ramifications of the workplace affair at the time since “it was a pretty scandalous place.” In fact, she described that there was a “rampant culture of sex.” What?!
Related: Did Another GMA Co-Host Shade T.J. & Amy?
During her time at the network, she heard whispers of other co-workers sleeping with each other in the edit bay and certain female colleagues being promoted after having an affair with executives. She’s not the only one who witnessed these office relationships. Multiple current and former employees claimed affairs between women and men with more seniority were a regular occurrence in the 2010s. A former GMA staffer said “it was very commonplace” for office hookups to happen, and it “felt like everybody was sleeping around.”
Ruth, a current ABC News producer, shared that the show was basically filled with “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.” Whoa. What’s more, the staff members even told the outlet that it felt like the women’s affairs factored into their futures at the newsroom. The former GMA staff claimed ABC News “rewarded the people that were either divas or adulterers,” adding:
“It was very frustrating because there were a lot of people that were doing good work.”
In one instance, former ABC News employee Julie was left confused as to why she wasn’t advancing within the company despite having the necessary qualifications. She told The Cut:
“I was like, What’s wrong with me? If I had slept with someone, would I have been more likely to have gotten one of these jobs?”
While workplace romances were common at ABC, many female workers were concerned about the fallout they’d face from it. Former ABC News producer Alicia, who dated an older co-worker, said it was almost as if someone was a “cool kid” if they were involved with a senior-level employee. However, she was often worried one executive “turned very, very sour on” her when they found out about her relationship, noting that “my reputation was in danger, but not his.” Alicia also noted “most of the ill will and shame I feel is directed towards myself,” saying:
“I wasn’t mature enough to have the foresight not to screw around and put my career in jeopardy.”
Beyond that, not everyone wanted to be a part of the hookup culture at the network. And when they’d report harassment or misconduct from their male co-worker, allegedly it was often brushed aside. Ruth said she reported an editor to HR once after he allegedly called her “babe” while placing his hand on her bare thigh. Instead of taking action against the man, they refused to do anything because she “didn’t seem that mad” about what happened. Seriously? What the f**k. Alicia even mentioned it “never occurred” to her to tell HR when an older employee was “inappropriate” and hit on her in his office one day:
“I really did think, This is just what happens, right?”
That’s awful. No woman should feel like harassment and misconduct is so normalized at a company that they shouldn’t report it. Horrible.
As the current state of things – especially with T.J. and Amy out at GMA? A current ABC staffer says the place has been “less scandalous” ever since Kim Godwin came on as the network’s president in 2021:
“Kim has gone out of her way to create a sort of zero-tolerance policy here. There has been cultural change.”
Ultimately, Ruth feels T.J. has become a “sacrificial lamb” for the company since office romances “has been a pretty well-known problem for a long time.” Meanwhile, Sascha is relieved he and Amy were taken off-air but is concerned that the pair is being painted in a bad light by the network – instead of them recognizing the former anchors were a part of its poor work culture:
“I think that they’re more protective of the company’s reputation than they are their staffers.”
But what does ABC News have to say about this? A spokesperson did not deny any of the stories in The Cut’s report but stated:
“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.”
Of course, T.J. also has not addressed any of the matters brought up in the piece at this time. Not exactly a shocker considering his lips have been sealed since the news of his affair with Amy broke in November. Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below. You can also check out the entire report from The Cut HERE.
[Image via Good Morning America/YouTube, Amy Robach/Instagram]