Mad Men: 10 Awful Things People Forget Don Draper Did

With Mad Men‘s 15th anniversary coming up this July, Kiernan Shipka recently spoke to ET about reprising her role as Sally in a spinoff series. Many fans would love to watch a series centered around Sally as her upbringing was anything but stable, and seeing how she turned out would be fascinating.

While the future of Sally Draper is up in the air, fans look back on not only how she was treated by Don, but also how Don treated others. As a complex man, Don isn’t a black and white character, but after seeing a breakdown of the worst things he’s done, it’s hard not to see him as the villain in Mad Men.

10 Blowing Off His Secretary

It’s no secret that Don Draper is a womanizer. He has an unmatched charm that many women (and even men) simply can’t ignore. Don had an assistant, Allison, who was great at her job and a devoted employee. When Don forgets his keys at the office he asks Allison to bring them to him and one thing leads to another and they end up sleeping together.

Related: 10 Mad Men Actors Who Appear In L.A. Noire

When Don essentially ignores her the next morning, she is devastated. Not only that, but he gives her money right after they slept together, making Allison feel used, even if they had discussed her bonus prior to their tryst. When she decides to quit and asks Don for a recommendation, he tells her to write her own. Don may be used to treating women this way, but Allison was not prepared for how things ended between her and Don.

9 Verbally Abusing Betty

It’s hard to say that Betty was innocent in this situation. While Don cheated on her many times, she did ultimately cheat on him as well. However, Don was a pretty terrible husband and father. He was absent, he lied, and he cheated. By the time Henry came into the picture, Betty was a pretty miserable wife.

It’s shocking when Don finds out about Betty and Henry and calls her a whore. Of course, timing can’t be ignored here. The show takes place in the 60s and Don is showing the all-too-common idea of the time that women were inferior to men. So, when Betty does what Don did to her, he insults her instead of looking in the mirror.  The double standard is heavily apparent, and Don has no right to treat Betty the way he did.

8 Traumatizing Sally Then Gaslighting Her

Don’s daughter Sally walks in on him and the neighbor in an intimate moment. She immediately knows what is going on as she’s no longer a little girl. Later, Don tries to talk to her about what she saw, saying it wasn’t what it looked like. He knows she knows what happened, but he tries to convince her he was simply “comforting” Mrs. Rosen.

Related: Sally Draper’s 10 Best Scenes In Mad Men

Sally is 14 at this point in the show, so she knew what she saw. It’s pretty gross that her dad would try to gaslight her instead of explaining what she saw, but he only wants to comfort himself and doesn’t really care how she feels about it. He wants her to acknowledge that she believes what he’s saying happened, then he leaves when she finally does.

7 How Don Treated Faye

Throughout the series, Don dated and had affairs with many women. It’s easy to compare the women he was with and say who was the best for Don, whether the characters deserved it or not. Faye Miller was someone who deserved better than Don. In the past, Don has gone for women who he felt he could feel a certain dominance over, and Faye wasn’t that kind of woman.

She was more emotionally mature and intelligent and didn’t need Don to take care of her, which is ultimately why he chose Megan over her. Don spent a lot of time trying to break down her walls and get her to trust him, only for him to leave her when she was finally ready to be in a stable relationship with him. Faye is truly the woman that got away.

6 Telling Sally She’s Like Her Parents

At the end of the episode “The Forecast”, Sally is going away to boarding school for the first time. After having dinner with a few of her friends and father, Don stops Sally before she gets on the bus, and Sally lays into him. She says that her dream is “get on a bus and get away from you and mom and hopefully, be a different person than you two.”

Don doesn’t like how Sally is treating her and ends up saying that whether she likes it or not, she’s going to be like her parents. At this point, Sally is so fed up with both of them that it’s no wonder she wants to escape her chaotic and toxic household. Don is too arrogant to believe he’s a bad person and therefore, to him, Sally being like him would be a good thing.

5 Sexually Assaulting Bobbie Barrett

When Don and Bobbie meet in the bathroom during a meeting, Don is not happy with her husband after he insults an SC client. He wants Bobbie to convince her husband to apologize, but when she extorts Don for $25,000, he violently assaults her. Despite them continuing their affair after this, it doesn’t negate what Don did to her.

Related: 10 Best Characters Who Only Appear In One Episode Of Mad Men

Whether they were into unconventional sexual exploits, he certainly did not have her consent at this moment. He wanted to assert his dominance and manipulate her and by the end of this interaction tells her to “do what I say.”

4 Screwing Over Peggy And Ted

When Peggy and Ted start an office affair, Don is not only jealous but feels like their relationship is infringing on their work. While they may have been in their honeymoon phase, the way he dealt with it was horrible. During a meeting with the client in which Ted had promised more money than they could have, Don puts Ted on the spot to watch him squirm.

When Don feels like Ted has squirmed enough, he reveals that Peggy’s idea for the ad was actually their late partner, Frank Gleason’s. Don took away any credit Peggy would have received, and ended their relationship, and almost ruined Ted’s career in what Don thought was in their best interest. Perhaps the two weren’t thinking clearly, but Don’s way of dealing with it was merciless and cruel.

3 Throwing Money In Peggy’s Face


After a tense episode in which Joan is pressured into sleeping with Herb, the man who gets to decide which agency gets the Jaguar deal, Don has had a dreadful day. When Peggy goes into Don’s office to tell him about saving the Chevalier Blanc deal, Don literally throws money in her face telling her to “go to Paris.”

Peggy is understandably upset and after being unhappy with her job for a while already, goes to Don and gives him her notice. No matter how hard of a day Don was having, treating one of his closest friends this way was unacceptable.

2 Tearing Down Betty’s Self-Confidence

After Betty buys a two-piece yellow swimsuit at an auction and has it on in preparation to go swimming with her kids, Don walks in and is immediately unhappy. He asks to speak to her away from the kids and tells her she looks desperate wearing the swimsuit.

She explains that all the women bought the same type of swimsuit at the auction, but Don essentially slut-shames her and makes her responsible for what men at the pool will think of her. Seeing Betty’s face fall when Don doesn’t immediately love her new suit is heartbreaking because she looked beautiful.

1 Hitting On Anna’s Niece

When Don is visiting Anna in California, he offers to take her niece home one night. When they arrive at her place, she asks when his flight is and he tells her, then asks if she thinks he should change it and puts his arm around her. She asks what he’s doing, and he tells her that he and Anna have never had a romantic relationship, but admits he does love her.

Anna is oddly calm about it; however, it doesn’t make the scene any less cringeworthy. Despite Stephanie being 21, it’s still disrespectful to Anna to hit on her niece. Anna asked her niece to stay the night so she could get to know Don/Dick, not so he could hit on her. For him to think Stephanie was even an option shows how delusional Don was.

Next: 10 Best Jon Hamm Movies, According To Letterboxd

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Author: Hanna Glafke