sexual harassment

Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner Discusses Sexual Harassment Allegation: ‘I Don’t Remember Saying It’

Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Time

When former Mad Men writer Kater Gordon publicly accused series creator Matthew Weiner of sexual harassment — specifically, of telling her she owed it to him to let him see her naked — the writer and executive producer was quick to deny her claims. “The allegations are not true,” he said at the time, simultaneously pointing to the many women whose careers he has fostered and admitting to “demanding” behavior as a boss. In a new profile, however, Weiner has a slightly different take on the incident, which Gordon says occurred in 2008 when she was a writer’s assistant. In short, Weiner says he doesn’t recall it happening. “I really don’t remember saying that,” he told Vanity Fair’s Joy Press. “I’m not hedging to say it’s not impossible that I said that, but I really don’t remember saying it.”

Interestingly, Press notes in her profile that when pressing Weiner later on his denial, the Mad Men creator questioned whether or not he actually used the word “hedging” during their interview, which Press confirms he did. While Weiner might not remember the exact phrasing he used in his denial either, it’s a denial he’s doubling down on. “I can’t see a scenario where I would say that,” Weiner reiterated about Gordon’s claim. “What I can see is, it was 10 years ago and I don’t remember saying it. When someone says you said something, like the experience we just had right now — I don’t remember saying that.” He continued, “I never felt that way and I never acted that way towards Kater.”

After Gordon made her allegation public in November 2017, Mad Men alum and Sharp Objects creator Marti Noxon backed her up in the press, calling Weiner an “emotional terrorist” in the writers room. Said Noxon, “I believe her. I was at work with her the day after what she described transpired.”

Alleged harassment aside, Weiner acknowledges he did act in a way that created an atmosphere his writers might have found difficult or demeaning. “I wish that I had been more sensitive and less defensive, and more able to put myself in the place of the people that worked with me sometimes,” Weiner, who is currently promoting his new Amazon show The Romanoffs, said. “If I have wronged somebody, yeah, I would like to apologize. In a general sense. I am that kind of person. It makes me sad to cause other people unhappiness or if they even perceive it that way.”

Meanwhile, Kater Gordon has since left television writing, and has founded Modern Alliance, an anti-sexual-harassment nonprofit. “That was not an isolated incident, but it was the most affecting,” she told Vanity Fair about her allegation. “Bullies with unchecked power create environments of fear.”

Update, October 3: In an interview with the New York Times, Weiner repeated the same defense. “I have reasons I don’t believe that I said it,” he said, “if that makes sense, but I really don’t remember saying it.” Gordon won an Emmy while writing on the show, but was not asked back. According to Weiner, she was not up to the task. “I was a very demanding boss,” he said while responding to Noxon’s criticisms. “Some of it is continuing a tradition of hazing, in a weird way.”

Matthew Weiner Discusses Sexual-Harassment Allegation