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.
something to the effect of "you owe it to me to show me your naked body."— marti noxon (@martinoxon) November 17, 2017
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. 2/
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. 4/— marti noxon (@martinoxon) November 17, 2017
may -- or may not -- be a joke. And it may -- or may not -- lead to a demotion or even the end of a career. 6/— marti noxon (@martinoxon) November 17, 2017
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 8/— marti noxon (@martinoxon) November 17, 2017
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. 10/— marti noxon (@martinoxon) November 17, 2017
I believe Kater Gordon.— marti noxon (@martinoxon) November 17, 2017