The latest Hollywood figure to be accused of sexual harassment is Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, with former series staff writer Kater Gordon accusing him of saying she owed it to him to let him see her naked.
Gordon won an Emmy alongside Weiner in 2009 (seen above) for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the episode “Meditations In An Emergency.” She started as Weiner’s personal assistant, then was promoted to his writers’ assistant and then a staff writer, but was let go later in 2009, and there was some speculation about an inappropriate relationship at the time.
In a piece published Thursday, Gordon told Jessica E. Lessin of The Information that Weiner said she “owed it to him to let him see her naked” in 2008, and that this eventually led to her leaving TV and working to form a nonprofit called Modern Alliance to help victims of sexual harassment. Here’s more on that from IndieWire:
She says she “froze and tried to brush [the comments] off” by continuing to work with Weiner that evening in the office. Gordon believed it was a “lose-lose situation,” as confronting Weiner would “end her career” and not confronting him would “make it impossible to work with him.”
“I knew immediately when he crossed the boundary that it was wrong,” Gordon told The Information. “But I didn’t know then what my options were. Having a script or some sentences cued up as an arsenal— like a self-defense harassment arsenal—I could have used that in that moment, and it would have saved me years of regret that I didn’t handle that situation differently.”
A year after the alleged incident, Gordon was let go from “Mad Men.” Her removal from the writers room sparked headlines at the time questioning why Weiner’s longtime assistant and writing partner would be let go from the series, especially after winning the Emmy.
“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 spokesperson for Weiner issued the following statement to The Information: “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.”
Weiner denies these allegations, but The Information’s piece includes several people confirming that Gordon had told them this over the years. And this may pose some problems for Weiner, especially considering that his current project, The Romanoffs, is in development at Amazon.
Amazon is currently involved in a different sexual harassment controversy thanks to Amazon Studios head Roy Price, who resigned in October amidst allegations he sexually harassed a producer on The Man In The High Castle and has since seen further reporting alleging multiple instances of harassment. And until recently, Weiner’s The Romanoffs was being produced by Harvey Weinstein, who was fired from his own company last month over allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
We’ll see if anything further comes of this.