“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner is the latest man in Hollywood to be accused of sexual harassment, as a former writer on the award-winning drama revealed that an inappropriate comment from Weiner drove her out of the television industry years ago.
Kater Gordon, who won an Emmy for an episode of the AMC drama she co-wrote with Weiner, said in an interview with The Information that Weiner once told her “that [she] owed it to him to let him see [her] naked” while they were working alone together late at night.
“It felt like a lose-lose situation,” she said, explaining that she believed speaking out against him would put her career at risk. Gordon began on the show as Weiner’s personal assistant and was quickly promoted through the ranks, eventually to staff writer for the show’s third season.
“I thought. ‘I can’t do anything to jeopardize.’ I need this credit. I saw no value to speaking out,” she said. “So I did what I thought women were supposed to do.”
Weiner denied the accusation through a spokesperson, who suggested the comment may have come as he was workshopping dialogue.
“Mr. Weiner spent eight to ten hours a day writing dialogue aloud with Miss Gordon, who started on ‘Mad Men’ as his writers assistant,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “He does not remember saying this comment nor does it reflect a comment he would say to any colleague.”
A year later, after Gordon and Weiner’s episode claimed the Emmy, she was let go from the show. At the time, the move sparked speculation in the media about the reasons for her firing, including a Gawker article raising the possibility of an “unprofessional relationship.”
Gordon told The Information that she “felt I had lost my integrity and dignity” and lost interest in writing. She is now building the nonprofit Modern Alliance, which will “create content to change perceptions around sexual harassment.”