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Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner says he ‘doesn’t remember’ sexually harassing Kater Gordon

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Kayleigh Dray
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LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 07: Actress Elisabeth Moss and producer Matt Weiner attend the after party for the premiere of RADIUS-TWC's 'The One I Love' at Umami Burger on August 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Gordon alleges that, while the two were working late one night, Weiner declared that she owed it to him to let him see her naked.

Mad Men – starring Elisabeth Moss (pictured above), January Jones and Christina Hendricks - is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time. Running from 2007 through to 2015, it focused primarily on sleazy advertising mogul, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) – but has been praised for its feminist themes. In particular, its memorable scenes of women standing up to the powerful men they worked for.

Which is why so many were shocked when its series creator was accused of sexually harassing one of his female members of staff.

In November 2017, former Mad Men writer Kater Gordon accused Matthew Weiner (pictured above) of telling her, one night as they worked alone together, that he “deserved to see her naked.”

When Gordon refused, she says, Weiner put things in motion to fire her – which he did, a year after the incident. This alleged mistreatment inspired Gordon to set up Modern Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to fighting sexual harassment within the workplace. She has since left the TV industry.

Weiner has always denied the charges made against him. Now, in a new interview, the Mad Men creator has re-addressed them, claiming that he does not “remember” harassing Gordon.

“[Mad Men] was about my interest, to the exclusion of plot sometimes, in what it is like to be powerless,” Weiner explained to Vanity Fair.

“Part of it was me saying, ‘Look how much everything’s changed…’ Part of me was saying, ‘It just got worse, actually, since then.’ That’s why this is such a big deal; that’s why it’s so strange to find myself being accused of being on the other side of it.”

The “other side” being, of course, is Gordon’s accusation against him.

“I really don’t remember saying that,” continued Weiner. “I’m not hedging to say it’s not impossible that I said that, but I really don’t remember saying it.”

He later stressed: “I never felt that way and I never acted that way towards Kater.”

Gordon told Vanity Fair the incident with Weiner “was not an isolated incident, but it was the most affecting.”

“Bullies with unchecked power create environments of fear,” she added.

It is worth noting that fellow Mad Men writer Marti Noxon – one week after Gordon came forward her allegation – published a string of tweets in which she described Weiner as “an ‘emotional terrorist’ who will badger, seduce and even tantrum in an attempt to get his needs met”.

Noxon went on to say that Weiner created “an atmosphere where everyone is constantly off guard and unsure where they stand. It is the kind of atmosphere where a comment like ‘you owe it to me to show me your naked body” may – or may not – be a joke. And it may – or may not – lead to a demotion or even the end of a career.”

“Everyone at Mad Men, regardless of gender or position, was affected by this atmosphere,” she added. 

“Why did we not confront him more or report him to our parent companies? Well, for one, we were grateful to him for the work and truly in awe of his talents. For another, it was hard to know what was real when moods and needs shifted so frequently. 

“Self-advocacy is important and I agree we all need to do it more and rely on less on faulty institutions to do it for us. But it is very difficult when the cost is, at best, fear and uncertainty – and at worst the loss of a job and ruined reputation.”

Noxon finished the Twitter thread by writing: “When sexual favours are lightly added to the bag of tools one might use to stay employed and valued, it can be destabilising or even devastating. It may not be illegal, but it is oppressive.

“I witnessed it and, despite the fact that that I was a senior consultant on the show, I also experienced it in my own way in my days at Mad Men.

“I believe Kater Gordon.”

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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