Media Men list: Moira Donegan identifies herself as creator of the document

  • Media Men list: Moira Donegan identifies herself as creator of the document

Media Men list: Moira Donegan identifies herself as creator of the document

When it was alleged on Tuesday that Roiphe was intending to name the creator of the Shitty Men in Media list - an anonymized spreadsheet of mostly NY media men and their various sexual offenses that was live for less than one day in October, and on which my feelings are very clear (it ruled) - the feminist internet rightly erupted. Anyway, all of this makes Roiphe a very interesting candidate to write an article about our current sexual climate, which Harper's magazine commissioned her to do for its March issue. My life has been unusual and sometimes frightening ever since.

The "Shitty Media Men" list named men, where they worked, and their alleged act of misconduct. Her name is Moira Donegan, and she broke the news with a detailed essay in The Cut outlining why she started the list, how it spiralled out of her control, and what she learnt from it.

In an exclusive biographical piece published on The Cut on Wednesday, Donegan revealed her identity for everyone to see, putting an end to the debate on whether a magazine revealing her name was against journalistic ethics. "Many of these networks have been invaluable in protecting their members", she continued. Melucci wrote back that the piece "is not even through the editing process".

Donegan came to know about Roiphe's intention when an anonymous fact checker reached out to her. In July 2017, she penned an article titled, "The Watermelon Woman Shows the Power of Gay History", an examination of the Cheryl Dunye's 1996 film The Watermelon Woman.

She later tweeted that she had "a nice little stable of great ex-Harper's pieces - some reported, some not - that could use new homes", and invited editors from other publications to get in touch. Many regarded the woman behind the list as a whistle-blower helping to highlight bad behavior in the media world. "You don't need to doxx me, just head to my Instagram account, it's easy to find out where I hang out if you want to say hi", she said. The list identifies 70 men in the media industry for predatory behavior that allegedly ranged from harassment to rape.

The spreadsheet listed men by name and accused them of everything from unwanted flirting to rape and violence, and quickly went viral, with cells populating at breakneck speed in a matter of hours.

Donegan says she took the list down after being alerted that BuzzFeed planned to publish an article about it. "I only wanted to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged".

The list's creator remained a secret until this week, when Harper's Magazine confirmed it meant to publish a story by writer Katie Roiphe that would expose the identity of the author.

Nicole Cliffe
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The controversy surrounding the upcoming Harper's piece, authored by Katie Roiphe, roiled the journalism community. "Here's the thing about Moira Donegan's Shitty Media Men worked", another wrote. At the time, Roiphe did not know Donegan created the spreadsheet.

The author of the Harper's piece, essayist Katie Roiphe, told the Times in an email that her piece did not name the woman.

If, by contrast, the person who started the list and the people who contributed to it are neither in positions of power nor hoping to exploit a feminist moment to take down male journalists and provoke a backlash, then it's certainly reasonable to argue that the risk of placing those people in danger by exposing them might be more substantial than the news value in naming them. "If not, how would you respond to this allegation?"

Donegan admits that her life "changed dramatically" after her spreadsheet was released. "I lost friends: some who thought I had been overzealous, others who thought I had not been zealous enough".

She said she has lived in fear that she too will be exposed and harassed ever since.

Still, Donegan supports the movement and its ambitions.

"At the rally in Columbus Circle, protesters chanted for President Trump to resign: So far, 19 women have gone on the record to accuse him of sexual misconduct", she wrote in a piece published on the London Book Review.

Now, though, the genuine whistleblower behind the spreadsheet appears to have come forward.