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Your Friday Wake-Up Call: 'Mad Men' Creator Faces a Harassment Claim. Plus, Confessions of an Ex-Facebook Exec

By Published on .

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: A former writer for "Mad Men" has accused the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, of sexually harassing her. Kater Gordon, who rose from a job as Weiner's assistant to being an Emmy Award-winning writer on the show, says that one night when they were working late, Weiner told her she "owed it to him to let him see her naked," The Information reports (paywall). A year after the alleged incident, she and Weiner shared the stage in 2009 to accept an Emmy, and weeks after that she was let go from the show, a high-profile departure that led Gawker and other to publications to speculate on what went wrong. A rep for Weiner, meanwhile, says "he does not remember saying this comment nor does it reflect a comment he would say to any colleague," according to Variety. Gordon has not worked in TV since her "Mad Men" days; she is reportedly now starting a non-profit to change perceptions about sexual harassment.

Also: The New York premiere of Louis C.K.'s movie "I Love You, Daddy" was canceled, as was his appearance on CBS' "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," after The New York Times reported that five women had accused him of sexual misconduct. FX is conducting a review following the news, and HBO has axed him from a charity show, CNN reports.

True confessions
It sounds like Sean Parker, the billionaire early investor in Facebook, has some regrets. As Ad Age's Garett Sloane writes, the former Facebook president looked back at the early days of the social network and acknowledges that

all the sharing and liking were used like a drug to get people hooked on checking Facebook non-stop. "How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible," said Parker, referring to Facebook's earliest mission. "God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."

Parker, who spoke at a conference hosted by Axios, isn't the only tech exec worried about what social media is doing to our brains, and to our political systems. Vanity Fair asks, "Is Mark Zuckerberg Facebook's Last True Believer?"

Disney's good news and bad news
Here's the good news: There will be a lot more "Star Wars." The Walt Disney Co. says it's working already on a new "Star Wars" film trilogy, as well as on a "Star Wars" TV show for its upcoming Netflix-type streaming service, Bloomberg News reports. Now for the bad news: Falling ad sales contributed to a weak fourth quarter, and Bloomberg says marks "the first drop in annual results since the financial crisis almost a decade ago." Also, in an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger did not want to talk about reports the company made a bid for 21st Century Fox's entertainment business. So we'll just have to keep wondering about that.

Crazy holiday flavors
This holiday season, Pepsi comes in salted caramel flavor. PepsiCo also has something called Mtn Dew "Holiday Brew," and it's bringing back Cheetos shaped like snowflakes. As Ad Age's Jessica Wohl and E.J. Schultz report, "seasonal, limited-time offerings have ballooned across the food and beverage industry as brands seek attention from consumers thirsting for more variety." And maybe consumers need something to fill the hole in their lives after the end of autumn's pumpkin spice season.
Also: The Ad Age Next conference is happening in New York on Nov. 15 and 16. Learn what's coming in 2018 as the worlds of marketing, media and tech meet.

Just briefly:

It's broken: Twitter says its system for verifying users' identities isn't working and needs fixing, Bloomberg News reports. The platform was just criticized for granting verification to a man who organized the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. this year.

Layoffs: ESPN is expected to lay off 100 people after Thanksgiving, including on-air talent, Sports Illustrated reports.

No way: "AT&T's chief executive says that "selling CNN to push through his company's acquisition of Time Warner has not been and never will be on the table," The New York Times reports.

$800 million: Lip-syncing app Musical.ly is selling to Chinese tech startup Jinri Toutiao, which runs a popular news aggregator app, for about $800 million, Bloomberg News reports.

Huh: Millard Drexler, chairman of J. Crew Group, says he approached Amazon to see if the e-commerce giant might buy the clothing retailer, The New York Times reports. But nothing happened, obviously.

Creativity of the day: Yoplait is offering moral support (and humor) for moms who are sick of getting unsolicited parenting advice. The brand opened a hotline (1-833-MOM-TIPS) where people can call in and share their ideas on child-rearing, so they don't unload their opinions on moms. ("To report a mom's parenting style, press 1.") Watch a video here, and read more by Ad Age's Jessica Wohl.

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