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Mad Men’s Marti Noxon: Matthew Weiner is an “emotional terrorist” who led a toxic workplace

“It may not be illegal, but it is oppressive.”

Awards Night Party - 2017 Sundance Film Festival Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival
Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Marti Noxon, the TV writer and producer who was one of the major voices behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, helped create the Lifetime drama UnReal, and was a consulting producer for Mad Men, is weighing in on the sexual assault allegation brought against Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner by a former employee on the show.

On November 9, Kater Gordon — Weiner’s former assistant and a former Mad Men writer who won an Emmy for her work on the series — recounted that Weiner once told her, while they were working late together one night, that she owed it to him to let her see him naked; a year later, she was dismissed from the show.

“I believe her,” Noxon writes on Twitter. “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.”

In a lengthy thread, Noxon goes on to speak out against the atmosphere Weiner created at Mad Men. Although he was undeniably immensely talented, Noxon says, he was also an “emotional terrorist” who would “badger, seduce and even tantrum in an attempt to get his needs met.” (He is, she reminds us all, the man who created the character Pete Campbell.)

Having such a personality at the helm, Noxon suggests, “can not help but create an atmosphere where everyone is constantly off guard and unsure where they stand” — in other words, an atmosphere that creates the kind of shadows where sexual harassment can flourish quietly, because no one feels safe enough to call it out or report it.

Noxon’s thread is a reminder that our culture tends to tolerate all kinds of open bad behavior and bullying from men whom we consider to be geniuses — and that these allowances make it all too easy for such men to behave even worse in private.

You can read Noxon’s entire thread below, or on Twitter here.

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