Matthew Weiner has denied allegations that he sexually harassed a female writer who he worked closely with on the early seasons of Mad Men. Kater Gordon, a former writer on the Emmy-winning AMC series, has accused the Mad Men showrunner of once telling her that she “owed” it to him to let him see her naked. Gordon told the website The Information that the incident occurred when she was working alone with Weiner late one night on one of the show’s most iconic episodes. One year after the alleged incident, Gordon was let go from the critically acclaimed period drama and hasn’t worked in the television industry since.
Kater Gordon started out as Matthew Weiner’s personal assistant and was promoted to a writer’s assistant, where she was able to pitch ideas. Mad Men insiders revealed that Matthew Weiner “respected Gordon tremendously” and would routinely ask her opinion on storylines in the show’s second season.
Kater later won an Emmy Award for her work as a writer on Mad Men. With Weiner, she was the co-writer of the acclaimed Season 2 finale “Mediations of an Emergency,” and she returned for the show’s third season to write the episode “The Fog” and to co-write the episode “The Color Blue” with Weiner.
But now Gordon has alleged that when she was working late with Matthew Weiner in the production office on the “Mediations of an Emergency” episode, he made an inappropriate remark to her that changed the dynamic of their working relationship.
“He told me that I owed it to him to let him see me naked,” she said. Gordon brushed the comment off and worked with Weiner to finish writing the episode. The young writer revealed she was afraid to report Weiner’s comment out of fear of losing her job. Kater Gordon later appeared alongside Matthew Weiner to accept an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for Mad Men, where he spoke for both of them during the acceptance speech.
A few weeks after her Emmy win with Weiner, Gordon says the Mad Men showrunner informed her he wouldn’t be renewing her contract for the show’s fourth season, revealing Weiner told her she had “fallen short” in her duties.
“He told me I was terrible at everything, from my work in the writers’ room to on set,” the former Mad Men writer said.
Gordon claims that after being let go from Mad Men she was unable to continue her career in the field because she was unable to use her Emmy as a launch pad for fear she would have to answer “speculative stories in the press.” Gordon told The Information she “eventually walked away instead of fighting back.”
A rep for Matthew Weiner promptly issued a response to Kater Gordon’s sexual harassment allegations, in which he denies the claims.
“Mr. Weiner spent eight to ten hours a day writing dialogue aloud with Miss Gordon, who started on Mad Men as his writers assistant. He does not remember saying this comment nor does it reflect a comment he would say to any colleague. During the nine years he was showrunner on Mad Men, Mr. Weiner had a predominantly female-driven writers’ room. He has long believed in and implemented an egalitarian working environment including the highest levels of production and writing based on mutual respect for all.”
But some Mad Men fans aren’t completely surprised by the allegations against Matthew Weiner. Weiner created Mad Men’s Don Draper, one of the most misogynistic characters in television history, and some fans seem to think the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Kater Gordon’s allegations against Matthew Weiner came days after his first novel, Heather, the Totality, was released. Weiner recently revealed the book was inspired when he saw an “extremely beautiful” 14 or 15-year-old girl in a school uniform go into a Manhattan apartment building under construction.
“And as she walked in, I saw a construction worker …a white guy, a skinhead, and I saw him look at her and it was one of the most terrifying looks I have ever seen in my life,” Weiner said, according to USA Today. “It was sex and murder and everything all at once.”
Matthew Weiner went on to wonder what would happen if the girl’s father had witnessed the way the workman looked at his daughter, and Heather, The Totality, was born. But Weiner denies that his book is about a young woman being objectified, explaining that is instead about how “other people are placing their own issues on her.”
“That gaze is about more than a male/female dynamic. It’s about possession,” Weiner told GQ. “Heather is an extremely independent character who defies them by being herself…A feminist reading of this book should take it for what it is. To revel in misogyny and present it, and to say that I’m being critical of it, has never been my goal. I’ve been unapologetically critical of it.”
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]