After the anonymous “Shitty Media Men” list, a Google spreadsheet where women anonymously reported harassment encounters in media, went viral after being posted on Reddit, rumors began swirling that Harper’s Magazine would reveal the identity of its author in its March issue.
However, the controversy and mystique surrounding the unidentified author of the document came to an abrupt halt after writer Moira Donegan claimed the authorship on The Cut.
Donegan’s self-penned piece drew attention to why she made the open access spreadsheet and what criticism it has received for calling out the “shitty media men” for sexual harassment, assault and inappropriate behavior.
Whispers on the internet indicated Harper’s Magazine’s Katie Roiphe intended to reveal Donegan’s name as the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” list.
Roiphe reportedly reached out to Donegan to discuss the "feminist movement" but really wanted to out her, which reveals her dishonesty.
The list, which was first covered by the BuzzFeed, reportedly started as a “radical experiment,” an “avenue to report this kind of behavior and warn others without fear of retaliation,” as Donegan explained in her brave piece.
Despite the spreadsheet being called “reckless, malicious or anti-sex” and “irresponsible and false,” investigations held as a consequence of the list have led to a number of men either leaving their jobs or being fired, according to Donegan.
After Harper’s Magazine confirmed Roiphe would reveal the identity of the list’s creator, journalists Dayna Tortorici of n+1and Nicole Cliffe of Elld led the charge against the impending article, calling out the publication’s journalistic ethics.
I spoke directly to Moira earlier this afternoon for the first time, and I think she’s great. She’s earned the support you’re showing her.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) January 11, 2018
This is not important but wouldn’t it be hilarious if I wrote the spreadsheet and all this was spectacular theater to make Harper’s terrified that naming me would cause retribution complaints for the boycott? (I very much did NOT write it, I am not brave enough.)— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) January 10, 2018
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
That they were going to publish a piece that identified her as the creator of the spreadsheet, without her consent.— Charles Bryan (@charleshbryan) January 11, 2018
In the era of #MeToo, revealing the name of person behind such a list could have compromised her safety, which is why people joined hands to demand Harper’s Magazine withdrew its pending piece on the subject.
Cliffe even offered to pay the writers for pulling the plug on the story.
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
If you have a piece in the hopper over at @Harpers, ask your editor if the Roiphe piece is happening. If it is, I will pay you cash for what you’d lose by yanking it. My email is nicole dot cliffe at gmail.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) January 9, 2018
Roiphe, the woman behind the speculations, is known for giving her misogynist thoughts a voice via her book on sexual culture, called “The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism.” She has also reportedly written a ridiculous piece on the concept of “date rape,” which has since been deleted.
According to Donegan, this is what happened to her after the list was exposed:
“In the weeks after the spreadsheet was exposed, my life changed dramatically. I lost friends: some who thought I had been overzealous, others who thought I had not been zealous enough. I lost my job, too. The fear of being exposed, and of the harassment that will inevitably follow, has dominated my life since. I’ve learned that protecting women is a position that comes with few protections itself.”
Adding to her dismay, Harper’s Magazine has been persistent on exposing her to the world.
Tortorici stood up for Donegan’s safety and said, “All I can say is: don’t. The risk of doxxing is high. It’s not the right thing to do.”
Putting a woman, who risked herself by outing her own name for the sake of millions of women, in danger for the sake for a few clicks and then outing the names of the participants of the list not only risks their careers but also their lives. And for what?
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters/ Lucy Nicholson