Moira Donegan identified herself as the creator of the ‘Shitty Media Men’ list in an essay for The Cut. Donegan’s identity was threatened to be released in a Harper’s Magazine article, which angered many who believed the release of her identity could harm her. Many feared she would be doxed, and her private information could be released to the public.
— Moira Donegan (@MoiraDonegan) January 11, 2018
The list was created to collect allegations of sexual misconduct within the magazine and publishing industry.
Anonymous women were able to name dozens of men in the industry who allegedly committed sexual harassment and assault. The list provided a disclaimer to take all allegations with a grain of salt. Some of the allegations could not be proven except for word of mouth claims.
Donegan acknowledged that the list had some problems and was not perfect. The document was only active for a few hours in October and was supposed to be private. However, the list gained traction fast after it was posted on BuzzFeed and Reddit.
Donegan never expected this to happen. In her essay she writes, “In the beginning, I only wanted to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged. The hope was to create an alternate avenue to report this kind of behavior and warn others without fear of retaliation.”
On Tuesday, a Twitter campaign started to protect Donegan’s identity.
It’s come to my attention that a legacy print magazine is planning to publish a piece “outing” the woman who started the Shitty Media Men list. All I can say is: don’t. The risk of doxxing is high. It’s not the right thing to do.
— Dayna Tortorici (@dtortorici) January 9, 2018
It was revealed the article was going to be published by Harper’s Magazine and written by Katie Roiphe. Writer Nicole Cliffe took the campaign into her own hands. She offered to foot the bill of any money lost to writers who pulled an article from Harper’s in protest.
Harper’s has confirmed there is a piece in March by Katie Roiphe. Offer is good. Yank them as noisily as you want.
— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) January 9, 2018
Donegan graduated from college in 2013 and began working in the magazine industry. She says she was warned to stay away from several of the industries “well-known abusers.” She was frustrated that these men, despite widespread allegations, were still continued to be invited to parties. Donegan started the spreadsheet for the women who were hurt by these men, but the result was more overwhelming than she expected:
“I realized that the behavior of a few men I had wanted women to be warned about was far more common that I had ever imagined. This is what shocked me about the spreadsheet: the realization of how badly it was needed, how much more common the experience of sexual harassment or assault is than the opportunity to speak about it. I am still trying to grapple with this realization.”
Roiphe told The New York Times she never planned to use Donegan’s name in the article. In Donegan’s essay, she says a fact-checker for Roiphe’s article contacted her to ask if she was involved. This statement has sparked a debate about whether this fact-checked aspect means Donegan’s name would be released without her permission.
In this time of the rise #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, many found the ‘Shitty Media Men’ list to be comforting and empowering.
This doc was created in the days following my outing a violent male writer. I wanted to start the conversation so badly I shared humiliating photos of myself beaten & bruised. The list made myself & many others feel less alone in the days that followed. Thank u @MoiraDonegan ❤️ https://t.co/nEknUHenTp
— helena (@helenadonahue) January 11, 2018
the last few months have felt like the loudest, crescendoing, and long-gathering silence. thank you, Moira.
— Durga Chew-Bose (@durgapolashi) January 11, 2018
Like Moira, I was too naive and too cynical. I had thought we were doing our best to protect each other with the options we had. We can do so much better.
— Haley Mlotek (@haleymlotek) January 11, 2018
While the result of the list involved backlash, Donegan hopes that the list was still a step in the right direction. At the end of her essay she says, “the experience of making the spreadsheet has shown me that it is still explosive, radical, and productively dangerous for women to say what we mean. But this doesn’t mean that I’ve lowered my hopes. Like a lot of feminists, I think about how women can build power, help one another, and work toward justice.”0