10:41am PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
Marti Noxon Backs Matthew Weiner Harassment Accuser, Calls Him "Emotional Terrorist"
Marti Noxon is speaking up about Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and the sexual harassment allegation surrounding him.
In a series of tweets on Friday, the television writer-producer — who formerly worked on the AMC drama as a senior consultant — described Weiner as an "emotional terrorist, who will badger, seduce and even tantrum in an attempt to get his needs met." She added that "everyone at Mad Men, regardless of gender or position, was affected by this atmosphere."
Noxon's tweets come a week after former Mad Men assistant-turned-writer Kater Gordon came out and accused Weiner of sexual harassment. Gordon told The Information that while writing late on the series one night, Weiner said to her that she owed it to him to see her naked. After winning an Emmy for co-writing that episode with Weiner, Gordon was let go from the drama and never worked in Hollywood again.
The Girlfriends Guide to Divorce showrunner made a point to stand behind Gordon and her claims. "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," Noxon wrote. "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."
Gordon's claims have also upended Weiner's press tour for his debut novel, Heather, the Totality. Roughly a third of the previously scheduled book events have been canceled — including stops in Seattle, D.C. and Los Angeles — and there have been awkward moments at some of the ones that have gone on as planned. When the harassment allegations came up at one, Weiner reportedly told the audience that the claims were "simply not true," and then deflected to his involvement with Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Mad Men's feminist themes.
Here's everything that Noxon had to say on the subject of 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 sexually harassed by Matt Weiner. While sharing writing duties with him, she recalls that he causally 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. 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 cannot 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.
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.