Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has been accused of sexual harassment by his former personal assistant and Mad Men staff writer. In an interview with The Information, Emmy Award-winning writer Kater Gordon alleged Weiner made a sexually explicit remark while they were working on the series.
Gordon began working as Weiner’s personal assistant in 2007. Less than a year later, she was promoted to writer’s assistant and eventually she said Weiner invited her to co-write that season’s finale with him. In the interview, Gordon claimed that while she was working with Weiner late one night, she alleged that, “He told me that I owed it to him to let him see me naked.” She said she “froze” and tried to brush the comments off. The pair then continued writing the episode.
She said that while she had shared the story with confidantes over the years, she did not officially report the incident for fear of losing her job. She said she felt she was in a “lose-lose situation” because she believed he would “end her career.”
“I knew immediately that when he crossed the boundary that it was wrong,” she told The Information. “But I didn’t know what my options were.”
Gordon was made a staff writer for the third season and Weiner and Gordon won an Emmy in September 2009 for the episode they penned together when the alleged incident took place. But a few weeks later, just one year after the alleged incident, Gordon was let go from the series. She claims Weiner called to tell her that her contract would not be renewed. “He told me I was terrible at everything,” she said. “From my work in the writers room to on set.” She has not worked in the industry since.
“I had the Emmy, but instead of being able to use that as a launch pad for the rest of my career, it became an anchor because I felt I had to answer to speculative stories in the press,” she said. “I eventually walked away instead of fighting back.”
A rep for Weiner referred Rolling Stone to Weiner’s original statement, which stated the following: “Mr. Weiner spent eight to ten hours a day writing dialogue aloud with Miss Gordon, who started on Mad Men as a writers assistant. He does not remember saying this comment nor does it reflect a comment he would say to any colleague.”
Gordon said she lost her passion to write following the alleged incident and is now creating a nonprofit to aid victims of sexual harassment called Modern Alliance. Gordon said the allegations against Harvey Weinstein helped motivate her. “I spent a couple days feeling down and feeling upset and aimless,” she said. “And then I got inspired.”