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Matthew Weiner Doesn’t Remember Misconduct With ‘Mad Men’ Writer

Matthew Weiner was reflecting on his management style this Yom Kippur, but continues to deny charges of misconduct involving a female employee.

In a Vanity Fair profile released in advance of the “Mad Men” creator’s new Amazon series, “The Romanoffs,” Joy Press, the piece’s writer, noted that Weiner appeared “palpably nervous, his conversation a tangle of sentence fragments and digressions,” when she mentioned allegations made against him last November by his former assistant and “Mad Men” writer Kater Gordon. That month, Gordon told The Information that one night when they were working late, Weiner said she “owed it to him” to let him see her naked.

“I’m not hedging to say it’s not impossible that I said that, but I really don’t remember saying it,” Weiner told Press. When questioned about this quote later, Press reports he claimed he’d been misquoted, saying “I know this seems weird, but I can’t imagine that I used the word ‘hedging.” Press noted that her transcript contradicts his claim.

Weiner told Press that since the accusations were leveled at him, he had been reaching out to past colleagues to apologize and reexamine his behavior. A week before the end of the Jewish New Year, Press called him back to ask his feelings about “making amends” for his time as an inexperienced show runner on “Mad Men.”

“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,” Weiner said. “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.”

The irony wasn’t lost on Weiner that Gordon’s allegation presents an eerie echo of the misogynist 1960s era he famously evoked in “Mad Men’s” fictional ad firm of Sterling Cooper.

“The show was about my interest, to the exclusion of plot sometimes, in what it is like to be powerless,” Weiner told Press. “Part of it was me saying, ‘Look how much everything’s changed …’ Part of me was saying, ‘It just got worse, actually, since then.’ That’s why this is such a big deal; that’s why it’s so strange to find myself being accused of being on the other side of it.”

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at [email protected].

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