Kater Gordon started out at Matthew Weiner’s personal assistant before working her way up the ranks to become his writing assistant and later a staff writer on Mad Men, and eventually won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. Now she has accused her former boss and mentor of sexual harassment, adding to the steady stream of stories coming out of show business as women speak out about the abuse and mistreatment they’ve experienced in professional settings.
According to Gordon in an interview with The Information, Weiner told her he felt entitled to see her nude. The comment came eight years ago during a late-night writing session, and Gordon was unsure of what to do. She knew that the wrong response could hurt her career, but she also felt incredibly uncomfortable. She told The Information that she “froze and tried to brush [the comments] off” and tried to put the incident behind her so they could continue their work.
“I knew immediately when he crossed the boundary that it was wrong,” Gordon said in the same interview. “But I didn’t know then what my options were. 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.”
A year later, Gordon was let go from Mad Men. This raised some eyebrows at the time and, per Gordon, meant she had to once again choose her words carefully. “I had the Emmy, but instead of being able to use that as a launch pad for the rest of my career, it became an anchor,” she said. “I felt I had to answer to speculative stories in the press. I eventually walked away instead of fighting back.”
Gordon might have walked away, but that eventually turned her towards a new career and a fresh purpose: Gordon is founding a nonprofit to help women who have experienced sexual harassment, called Modern Alliance. That might be just what the world needs given the number of women who have come forward with similar stories about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Ed Westwick, Louis C.K., and others.