And they keep on rolling in. Earlier today, long-simmering rumors boiled over when The New York Times provided accounts from five different women accusing comedian Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct. C.K.’s allegations come in the wake of a movement that’s emboldened numerous women to come forward with stories of harassment and assault, with the number of those recently accused climbing into the mid-30s. Well, add another to the list because Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is the latest to be met with unsavory allegations.
Kater Gordon, a writer who won an Emmy for her work on Mad Men, says she felt “threatened and devalued” during a late night writing session when Weiner allegedly said she “owed it to him” to let him see her naked. These comments are presumably in reference to the fact that Weiner graduated her from his personal assistant to a writer on the show.
Though she “brushed it off” at the time, the comment caused her to question her own talent. In an interview with The Information, she said, “Was I really there because of my ability? Or was the way I looked or the way I acted somehow influencing that?”
“I knew immediately when he crossed the boundary that it was wrong. But I didn’t know then what my options were,” she continued. “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.”
Weiner abruptly fired her after the third season of the show, her only season as a full-time staff writer. “He told me I was terrible at everything,” Gordon said, “from my work in the writers room to on set.” While it wasn’t unusual for Weiner to let writers go, the media speculated as to whether or not the two fostered an illicit relationship.
A spokesperson for Weiner denies the events in a statement published by 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.” The spokesperson also notes the show’s “predominantly female driven writers room.”
Gordon stepped back from writing after the incident and is now launching a nonprofit organization called Modern Alliance to combat sexual harassment. It’s purpose, she says, is to confront “old-fashioned behaviors” so “we don’t have to stay stuck in the past.” She also hopes it will “allow me to take back my own narrative and be more empowered with the choices that I take moving forward.”
Weiner, meanwhile, is moving forward with his new scripted anthology series, The Romanoffs.