Bryan Batt’s Mad Men Character Fired Because He’s Gay


Life imitates art, and so it goes for Bryan Batt, who won't be returning to Mad Men because his character came out of the closet on the job.

Said creator Matthew Weiner to TV Guide: “We don’t murder people on our show, but for there to be any stakes,
there have to be consequences. [Losing Bryan] was a tough moment for the show, but that’s
where we are. I know how people felt about Bryan. I obviously love
working with him, and he has been an indelible character since the
pilot. But I felt it was an expression of the times that he couldn’t
work there anymore. It’s the ultimate case of sexual harassment.”

Batt apparently has yet to be notified.

Watch: Mad Men Goes Gay [tr]


  1. MAK says

    So it goes that on this series…no more gay characters “because of the times”?

    I can’t believe the creator would suddenly switch gears..something else must be going on. Is there truth to the fact that the creator didn’t like Batt personally?

    I diligently watch the show regardless, but you can still create a storyline with the character..he could easily end up with the “new” startup company.

  2. Mark says

    This character being fired for coming out makes sense if you’re familiar with the series;
    it’s true to the storyline, the time period, and the setting.

    It would have been unrealistic to expect anything else at Cooper-Sterling.

  3. Clay says

    This is a serious mistake from a viewership POV. One of the most interesting and engaging characters cut entirely waaaay too soon. A dumb, dumb move.

  4. Wes says

    I think he was featured more prominently in the third season than in earlier ones, probably because it was the climax of his character’s storyline. Now that its passed I don’t know what much else his presence would serve, it certainly wouldn’t make any sense to have him back just for the sake of it, and it would dilute the impact of his firing in the first place.

    Most gay men didn’t get fired and then re-hired. They got fired and left behind, forgotten. For good.

    Although I’ll miss him and I think he was a real highlight to the show, I understand why he’s gone. Its a real statement and I think its good that the audience will miss him. Because it emphasizes just how wrong what happened to him was.

    I sometimes hope he’ll pop up briefly, running into Peggy on the street or something. Maybe even end up working for the competition (Duck? although its unclear if he’ll be around at all anymore either). Regardless, he had a good run.

    Hope to see Batt in the future, he’s a talented actor.

  5. Wes says

    btw, I wouldn’t assume that this was personal between the creator/actor. This really makes sense considering the storyline.

    The end of season 3 saw radical changes. I suspect many characters will not be seen again, or if they will it won’t be much. Paul Kinsey, Ken Cosgrove, Duck Phillips, and lovable fuckup Lois (who should have been fired soooo long ago lol) come to mind. Thats why I can’t wait for season 4. I literally have no idea what to expect.

    But the day they cut Joan is the day I stop watching. I don’t think they’ll ever do that, I never for a second believed she was gone, she’s by far the most popular character on the show IMO.

  6. bearheim says

    Matt Weiner is a closet case if I ever saw one. I see it as a case of ‘if I can’t be gay, then no one can’. Judging from the press, he sounds like a little tyrant who has daily fairy fits.

  7. Walter says

    Uh — just because he is FIRED did not mean he had to be written out of the show, this was a hetro-centric choice.

    The characters life would go on — and it would have been a GREAT oppotunity for interesting story telling.

    It is sick how gay people defend this crap. But then most people are functionally insane anyway – straight or gay.

  8. James says

    Sal did not come out, he was fired for not putting out, which lost the company a $25million account.

  9. Mike says

    Jesus Christ, folks. The show centers around the ad agency. They aren’t suddenly going to run a second story of Sal cruising the parks, divorcing his wife and becoming an old queen. And really read between the lines. It doesn’t say he, the actor, was fired. It says, “But I felt it was an expression of the times that he couldn’t work there anymore.” Guess what? There is a new agency being formed. Maybe he’ll be hired there. Did you all really think that Sal’s character was suddenly going to embrace his ‘gay’ and be out?

    I will ask this though – Why is the little Euro gay allowed to still work there? He’s out and not afraid to talk about it.

  10. Wes says

    The show revolves around Sterling-Cooper, and more specifically Don Draper.

    I’m sorry but Sal was never a main focus in the show. It wouldn’t make sense to endlessly follow his character when he has no connections left to the rest of the characters. Then it becomes “Mad Men: The Story of Sal”. It loses focus.

    However I don’t see where Weiner says he can’t be featured at all somewhere. He just said he’s fired at Sterling-Cooper. Who knows, he may have him pop up at some point, maybe a couple seasons later and we’ll see where he’s at (out?).

    The only thing I think is wrong is that they don’t seem to be notifying Batt of what their intentions are. Of course, maybe thats because they don’t even know if they want to use him again yet.

    I don’t think anyone should take it personally. If Weiner was so anti-gay he probably wouldn’t have written such a prominent and sympathetic gay storyline into his show.

  11. Wes says


    Mike, when Don found out Sal was gay, he didn’t really care. He said “limit your exposure.”

    It was only when Sal refused to f*ck with that nasty closet case from Lucky Strikes that Don got pissed. Because it cost them the account. A BIG account.

    So ironically, Sal got fired for not giving in to a client’s gay advances, not for being “too gay”.

    I guess the Euro guy didn’t pose any such problem but, I don’t know if we’ll see him anymore either since Sterling-Cooper isn’t really Sterling-Cooper anymore and only a handful of characters have been brought over.

  12. says

    I really do hope there is another gay presence on the show (Kurt? Is that his name? The German guy?) because one aspect I love about Mad Men is how it comments on various social issues via the lens of the 60s and I’d miss having a gay man on the show to follow that social thread.

    Perhaps they’ll write in a new gay character?

  13. K in VA says

    If you want a realistic portrayal of live in the early 1960s, of course he had to be fired. That’s the way it was (and still is in many places).

  14. Martin says

    He was fired from an agency that the bulk of the characters no longer work at. It doesn’t mean it can’t be involved at the new agency or be a part of the show while working somewhere else. And he wasn’t fired for coming out, he was fired because he wouldn’t sleep with a closeted client and the client, the agency’s biggest, demanded that he be fired. Don’t get all worked up, Sal will be back in some capacity next season.

  15. Disgusted American says

    …and he would have been fired from McMann & Tate too…it WAS/and in some cases/states STILL the Times!

  16. Walter says

    Wow Mike — if you are gay the self hate just came pouring out — so by being fired you think the only potential story line option is Sal cruising the parks, divorcing his wife and becoming an old queen.

    Sad for you.

  17. Walter says

    Somehow in the world of functionally insane there are readers that agree he should have been fired for not putting out on demand for a client.

  18. says

    I would really like to see Sal come back at least for one episode to discover what happened to him. They left us hanging with that final scene talking on the pay phone by a cruising park.

  19. MackMichael says

    This is one of only a few television shows I watch, and I have to say that it feels like a missed opportunity. Sal’s character being fired is truthful, but Don’s “limit your exposure” remark was a great way to watch Sal’s character struggle with both his sexual awakening and his position within an oppressive corporate structure with the 1960’s as a backdrop. The writers might have gotten more mileage out of making Sal’s sexual harrassment yet another example of the dangers that gays faced in an era when the could have been refused a drink at a bar for the perception of being gay. Yes, he was a side character, but there seemed to be a lot to explore within his hidden life that sadly won’t be capitalized on.

    I do understand the notion that something must be “at stake” in order to create drama, but frankly the tension in Sal’s storyline was barely explored, was looking to be very unique, and could have been a wonderful way of showing how far gays have come, and yet just how very far behind they still are…especially when so many still cannot be out at the workplace.

    The real tension will begin next season when we’ll see if Weiner comes up with anything compelling to continue to engage this viewer and any others like me who found Sal’s storyline especially compelling.

  20. says

    Weiner is a reall piece of work. He dropped my firned Tim Hunter (who isn’t gay) from directing the show after the first two seasons (where he directed several of the best episodes) because he’s such a control freak and demanded NO input from anyone else.

  21. Bosie says

    Well, I was curious to watch the show because of this character…>WHY WOULD A WATCH A SHOW ABOUT STR8s IN THE 50’s??? I already live in a 2nd class status…SUCKS!

    Anyways, bye bye to ever watching that crap.

  22. David C. says

    What a missed opportunity. The show won’t be as rich or as interesting as a result of this cut. Thematically the show is so much about what is hidden beneath the Madison Avenue sheen. As a gay man it would have been nice to continue being represented. It would have been awesome to see how Sal continued to cope with his sexuality within the context of the 60’s — especially with what is going on today.

  23. Dan says

    Some of these comments are insane. The firing of this gay character was sad, poignant and true to the times. That’s it for him, unless at some point they bring him back, and I accept that. I’m much more interested in how the new fledgling agency will evolve; the finale for this past season was the best one ever. I’m in love with the show, and really don’t need lame-ass Queer as Folk storylines shoehorning themselves into things.

  24. Mike says

    Walter, do you watch the show? Do you?? That is how they ended his final scene – he was in the park you obnoxious twit. And yes, look at his character, Sal. That guy, after his divorce, would have been a total Broadway queen. LOOK AT THE CHARACTER.

  25. Gregoire says

    If the show is missing any opportunities, it’s in exploring racial situations in the 60s, only hinted at with the relationship between the Drapers and their maid.

    I feel like they have FULLY explored the gay subplot and I am fine with Sal being written out, because it is the sad reality of the 60s.

    Sure, it would be enjoyable to see what Sal’s life would be like, but I really think that is for another show. All these cries of “Matt Weiner is a homophobe” are extremely lame.

    I’m sure Bryan Batt is neither surprised nor confused by this decision.

  26. Wes says

    Gregoire, they also briefly explored racial tensions with Sheila, Paul Kinsey’s girlfriend, and Paul proposing marketing Televisions to the “negro market” (which made the client quite unhappy) and discussing those ideas with the black elevator operator.

    And perhaps most directly, Roger’s blackface performance at the party he threw with his new wife.

    There are also references to other races, like “chinamen” in the first season and some focus on the Jewish businessmen/women.

    As you mentioned, grandpa’s suspicion of the black maid when his $5 went missing was also racial.

    I agree the topic could be explored more, and I hope it is as the 60s progresses in the show (civil rights act, MLK, etc) but I can see how it might be hard to incorporate when the world of Mad Men is mainly one of privileged whites.

  27. jakeinlove says

    So he just disappears because he got fired? There’s no storyline of him fighting his battle. What kind of message does that send. You’re gay, you come out, you get fired, and you just disappear?

  28. Wes says

    I don’t care who he fires or hires, as long as its for the show’s benefit. Mad Men is his baby, he’s allowed to be a control freak to some extent. And as long as the show stays as good as it has been thus far, I don’t mind one bit.

    Maybe people should stop counting penises and vaginas and just judge the final product.

  29. TJ says

    I’d truly hate it, and would be disappointed, if Bryan’s character is gone for good. This may be the case, but what I have read doesn’t say that Bryan was fired. It says fictional Sal was fired from the fictional ad agency. It doesn’t say that the character is gone for good. I’ll wait and see before I get too hot and bothered.

  30. D.B.. says

    In the context of the show, Sal’s firing completely made sense. And it would be quite unrealistic to the era to have him miraculously return. It was a sad reality of the 1960s, and unfortunately it still happens today.

    However, I really enjoyed the character and Bryan Batt’s work in the show. I really hope that Sal pops up sometime in the future so we can see what became of him after Sterling-Cooper.

  31. Zlick says

    First off, he wasn’t exactly fired from Sterling Cooper because he was gay, but because he refused to have gay sex with a client who came on to him. A subtle difference, but important. In any event, now that there’s no more Sterling Cooper, the core group who are forming their new agency are free to re-hire Sal or perhaps do so as the series progresses through the obvious progress of the 60’s. Not that they will do so, but there’s an, ahem, out for the situation of firing Sal in the first place and losing their only gay character.

  32. rick says

    love the show, but weiner’s explanation is bullshit. the only character he was out to was dan, who didn’t have a problem w/ it. and how many gays really got fired (in 1963 or today) because he wouldn’t put out for a client??

    too bad–Sal was a great character–just as much to explore as ANY of the others!

  33. Sean says

    I think the character had gone as far as he needed to go, and in the storyline everything that happened has made perfect sense.

    And in the business setting that the show is set in, Weiner’s right, there has to be consequences or you don’t take the show seriously. Bratt was certainly one of the weakest actors in a ridiculously talented ensemble, so if someone had to go, I’m glad it was him.

    Now, I will say that if the report of him not being told when he should have, that is really unfortunate, but who knows what really went down.

  34. Dback says

    I foresee Sal making an appearance or two in the next season–he’s too talented to just disappear from the ad world. Now that Don and co. have gone solo, it makes sense that he’d cross paths with them again. (He might even have gotten a better job, which would mean Don would have to grovel to get Sal to work with him.)

    Bryan Batt had some terrific scenes this season, and really stepped up to the plate with them and swung for the fences. I think Matthew Weiner is too smart to just let that dissipate. (Then again, I’m still waiting for the return of that weirdly touching promiscuous neighborhood kid who came on to Betty the first season.)

  35. mikr says

    Salvatore Romano won’t be coming back to the new agency because Roger Sterling poached Lucky Strike, the company the closet case owns, for Sterling Cooper Draper Price as the back bone of the new company at $25 million in yearly work. Sal was fired at the behest of the closet case – no way they can rehire him.

    Perhaps he shows up at an industry event or some such.

    Indeed the character was last seen in the Ramble in Central Park – fired, free, and ready to explode/explore his desires… many things can happen in that situation…

  36. Billy says

    I haven’t read through all the comments, but I just have to say there is another out gay character on the show. He came out and wasn’t fired.

  37. Grant says

    As much as I love the show I do think Matthew Weiner is a total closet case and a miserable monster with unreasonable standards. A total control freak. Losing this character really does seem like a missed opportunity. While it does seem in keeping with the setting of the show that he would be fired, I never quite bought that Don would be fine with his being gay nor do I buy that he was basically fired for not putting out. The show is great, but there are missteps.

  38. TJ says

    >Bratt was certainly one of the weakest actors in a ridiculously talented ensemble, so if someone had to go, I’m glad it was him.< Um… some people’s taste is all in there tongues. I wouldn’t let yours taste my… well, you know

  39. Christopher says

    I think the way Sal was written out of the show was perfect.

    Would it really have been better if they had taken the fairytale (no pun intended) ending and re-hired him and everyone would be happy and the would would be perfect and sunshine and rainbows? Of course not! The way he was strewn aside, disposed of, as if he was a meaningless person in this heterocentric world makes a bigger statement than any of the alternatives.

    Granted this statement would be largely lost on the ignorant, but, by-and-large, the viewers of Mad Men are not ignorant, and in fact watch the show specifically because of its depth and ability to inspire conversation and discourse. I have several straight friends who were even more disgusted with Sal’s firing than I was, perhaps because it “shook something loose” and made them realize how much discrimination there was, and just how much discrimination remains.

  40. He's not GONE says

    I don’t know how you’re reading that he’s totally GONE from the show from these comments. The comment from Matt Weiner was from right after the season finale, when everyone was talking about how they wanted the new Sterling Draper Cooper Price to hire Sal back as the art director. Matt basically says that they COULDN’T do that then, which is true.

    Sal could come back and they could explore other bits of his story line throughout the season, especially if he works at another, more liberal agency. He never was a major character. And they had Rachel pop back in for a few episodes.