It's a Mad World

“Mad Men” Creator Reveals Why He Fired the Gay Character

SAL-BELLHOP-MAD-MENWith Mad Men returning April 7, the world eagerly awaits to see what’s it store for Don Draper, not to mention how the show’s wardrobe department will handle Jon Hamm’s battle of the bulge as the series moves into the tight-trousered late ’60s. Yet many queer fans are still smarting over the departure of closeted gay Sal Romano during season 3 and, rest assured, series creator Matthew Weiner empathizes with our anguish.

The Sterling Cooper art director, memorably played with just the right amount of swish by Bryan Batt, was a victim of the time. Although married to a female, he still yearned for fulfillment with a man, when he wasn’t busy swooning to Ann-Margret movies, that is. Romano was unceremoniously fired from the ad agency after he rebuffed the advances of a drunken male client.

It was a move that surprised and angered many hardcore fans, but Weiner says that while it was a tough decision, it was necessary in the interest of historical accuracy.

“More than with any other character, I’ve had lots of conversations about that,” Weiner tells Wall Street Journal. “I wanted to tell the story of how incredibly unfair it was for Sal, and that’s the sacrifice I made. It’s a gigantic moment in the series.”

As the series heads into its penultimate season, here’s hoping Sal makes a return in time to raise hell at the Stonewall riots.