Journalist Moira Donegan names herself as the creator of the anonymous list outing men accused of sexual harassment and assault.
A former assistant editor of The New Republic has named herself as the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” spreadsheet after it seemed apparant she was about to be outed by another publication.
Journalist Moira Donegan revealed herself as the list’s anonymous founder in an article with The Cut on Wednesday evening, telling how she created the list in order to collect information on the large range of rumors and allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault waged against various men working in the media industry.
Setting up the Google spreadsheet in October 2017, Donegan was quickly forced to take the spreadsheet offline after a tidal wave of accusations began to roll in, as women shared it with their friends and co-workers, each of them putting into writing the experiences of sexual harassment they had suffered as a warning to all other women viewing the document.
"The anonymous, crowdsourced document was a first attempt at solving what has seemed like an intractable problem: how women can protect ourselves from sexual harassment and assault," Donegan wrote.
After 12 hours, the list was no longer private, however, and contained accusations filed against dozens of men. By the time she took it down, copies of the list had already been made and spread online.
"It spread much further and much faster than I ever anticipated, and in the end, the once-private document was made public," she continued.
"Eventually, some media companies conducted investigations into employees who appeared on the spreadsheet; some of those men left their jobs or were fired.”
Please keep imagining a world where rape, assault, and harassment don’t happen, even though we are still facing a world where people can have their houses burned down for telling the truth about them.— Moira Donegan (@MoiraDonegan) January 6, 2018
In the first-person, 2,900-word essay outing herself, Donegan admits she was “naive” in setting up the list and states that the possibility that certain men were being wrongly confused was "a concern I took seriously."
"The spreadsheet only had the power to inform women of allegations that were being made and to trust them to judge the quality of that information for themselves and to make their own choices accordingly," Donegan wrote.
The list was also to have a massive effect on her life even before she publicly revealed herself. Donegan claims to have lost friends who believed she had gone too far, lost friends who felt she had not gone far enough, and lost job opportunities because of being recognized as its creator.
The journalist made the decision to our herself this week after she claimed it had become apparent that her name was to be revealed some time in the near future. Having being contacted by Katie Roiphe from Harper’s Bazaar last December asking for a comment on an article about the feminist movement, Donegan received a further email from a fact-checker stating that Roiphe was to name her as the creator in the March edition of the magazine. Roiphe denies this but the growing online discussion about the upcoming article convinced Donegan that she needed to get ahead of the crowd.
"People who opposed the decision by Harper's speculated about what would happen to me as a result of being identified," Donegan wrote.
"They feared that I would be threatened, stalked, raped, or killed. The outrage made it seem inevitable that my identity would be exposed even before the Roiphe piece ran. All of this was terrifying."
Left is Moira Donegan’s account. Right is what Katie Roiphe told the Times went down regarding the shitty media men list piece. pic.twitter.com/C43FOP24mf— Madison Malone Kircher (@4evrmalone) January 11, 2018
She is also thankful for the way in which the spreadsheet showed her the power of women in making their voices heard. The list had very real consequences for some of the men named, with them eventually losing their job or leaving their job after their employers began an investigation into the accusations.
"The women who used the spreadsheet, and who spread it to others, used this power in a special way, and I'm thankful to all of them," she wrote.
Do you think Donegan was right in setting up the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, below.