While AMC's groundbreaking drama series Mad Men has been off the air for more than two years now, the show was making headlines earlier this month, when Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner was accused of sexual harassment by former staff writer Kater Gordon. The writer, who won an Emmy for co-writing the Season 2 finale with Matthew Weiner, revealed that, while writing that episode, Weiner said she owed it to him to let him see her naked, since she quickly rose through the ranks from an assistant to becoming a staff writer. While Matthew Weiner has denied the allegations, Marti Noxon, who wrote two episodes of the hit series and served as a consulting producer on the show while Kater Gordon was there, issued a lengthy statement on Twitter, revealing she believes Kater Gordon's claims, because she was there the day after the incident took place, and saw how shaken she was.
"On the subject of Matt Weiner and Mad Men. About a week ago Kater Gordon, a young female writer who worked on Mad Men bravely came forward with her account of being sexual harassed by Matt Weiner. While sharing writing duties with him, she recalls that he casually mentioned something to the effect of "you owe it to me to show me your naked body." I believe her. I was at work with her the day after what she described transpired. I remember clearly how shaken and subdued Kater was, and continued to be from that day on. Responding to her statement, Matt claimed he would never make that kind of comment to a colleague. But anyone with an even cursory knowledge of the show Mad Men could imagine that very line coming from the mouth of Pete Campbell."
Both Kater Gordon and Matthew Weiner won an Emmy Award for writing the Mad Men Season 2 finale, entitled "Meditations in an Emergency," which was one of the episodes Marti Noxon served as a consulting producer on. Kater Gordon served as a staff writer in the third season of Mad Men, where she wrote the episode entitled "The Fog," but she was surprisingly fired at the end of the third season, a move which raised numerous questions, although the show did have a high turnover rate. Still, Kater Gordon never worked on another TV show again, moving to San Francisco where she started a non-profit organization called Modern Alliance, that is aiming to change the perception of sexual harassment. Here's what Marti Noxon had to say about Matthew Weiner's denial of these allegations, revealing that one of his colleagues refers to him as an "emotional terrorist."
"Matt, Pete's creator, is many things. He is devilishly clever and witty, but he is also, in the words of one of his colleagues, an 'emotional terrorist' who will badger, seduce and even tantrum in an attempt to get his needs met. This personality type can not help but create 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."
Kater Gordon's story is just one of many to be heard in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal that first broke in early October. Since then, scores of actors and filmmakers have had allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault leveled against them, including Kevin Spacey, whose hit Netflix series House of Cards was canceled in the wake of these allegations, and his new movie All the Money in the World is currently undergoing last-minute reshoots after completely removing the actor and recasting Christopher Plummer as billionaire J. Paul Getty. Here's what Marti Noxon had to say in the final portion of her statement, revealing why Kater Gordon and others didn't come forward sooner.
"Everyone at Mad Men, regardless of gender or position, was affected by this atmosphere. 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. Taking that action is one thing to contemplate if you have money in the bank and family to fall back on, but quite another for people from all walks of life without a safety net. And when sexual favors are lightly added to the bag of tools one might use to stay employed and valued, it can be destabilizing 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."
More recently, the cast of One Tree Hill have come forward to accuses their showrunner Mark Schwan of sexual harassment, while Nickelodeon fired Loud House creator Nick Savino after sexual harassment charges came forth against him. After her time on Mad Men, Marti Noxon went on to write movies such as the Fright Night remake and I Am Number Four, while also creating hit shows such as UnREAL, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce and Sharp Objects. Take a look at the thread from Marti Noxon's Twitter regarding the sexual harassment charges against Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.