Matthew Weiner’s The Romanoffs hits Amazon later this month, and, while the star-studded cast and spare episode breakdowns remain tantalizing, the accusations of workplace misconduct by former Mad Men writer Kater Gordon continue to hang over the show. Late last year, Gordon came forward with a story about how, in a private writing session, Weiner told her that she “owed it to him” to let him see her naked. In her recollection, she brushed the comment off and, despite having won an Emmy for her writing on the show, was fired just a year later. In a series of subsequent tweets, TV veteran Marti Noxon lent her support to Gordon, calling Weiner an “emotional terrorist” while describing an unhealthy work environment.
At the time, representatives for Weiner said in a statement that he “does not remember saying this comment nor does it reflect a comment he would say to any colleague.” Now, in a new profile by Vanity Fair, he reasserts that denial, but also acknowledges that “it’s not impossible” that he made the offending comments. In speaking on the issue, however, he does show that perhaps his memory isn’t as reliable as he’d like to think.
From Vanity Fair:
Weiner says he has not spoken to Gordon since she first made the allegation. “I really don’t remember saying that,” he says. “I’m not hedging to say it’s not impossible that I said that, but I really don’t remember saying it.” I realize as he’s saying this that I had expected Weiner, a consummate storyteller, to present me with a more coherent narrative. I call him several days later and ask him to clarify this sentence. If it’s not impossible that he said it, under what circumstances might he have uttered this? Weiner questions the words I’ve quoted back to him. “I know this seems weird, but I can’t imagine that I used the word ‘hedging,’” he insists. I double-check; he did.
“I can’t see a scenario where I would say that,” he continues, returning to Gordon’s allegation. “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 continues more definitively, “I never felt that way and I never acted that way towards Kater.”
Weiner does admit that the situation caused him to reexamine his conduct in the workplace. “Some of it was talking about what it was like to work there and what I was like as a boss, unrelated to the allegation,” he said of calls he made to former colleagues.
He added, “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. 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.”
Gordon, meanwhile, stands by her comments. “That was not an isolated incident, but it was the most affecting,” she told Vanity Fair in an e-mail. “Bullies with unchecked power create environments of fear.” Currently, she’s squaring off against those bullies with Modern Alliance, a nonprofit she created that’s devoted to combatting sexual harassment.