Woman Behind Online List of Allegations Against 'Media Men' Comes Forward

Woman Behind Online List of Allegations Against 'Media Men' Comes Forward

The list and its anonymous creator came back into the spotlight this week, after it was confirmed that Harper's magazine was set to publish a cover story about the list, potentially revealing the creator's identity in the process - and thus, setting her up for what could very much be a year full of doxxing, the risky yet common practice of exposing a person's personal information online, as pointed out by several people on social media.

In October, a spreadsheet made its way into the inboxes of women in the media industry.

Hours before the publication of Donegan's story on The Cut, Roiphe said that she herself did not know the identity of the person who had started the list and added, "I would never put in the creator of the list if they didn't want to be named".

Harper's magazine has lost a back-page advertiser as a result of the controversy swirling around a story planned for the March issue. I would be fascinated to read a reporter like the New Yorker's Adrian Chen, who unmasked a prominent Reddit moderator and troll in a terrific 2012 piece for Gawker, on the way something like this spreadsheet travels through the Internet and how it's at risk of distortion.

The first is if the person who began it is an exceptionally prominent member of the media, someone such as former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who was making an allegation anonymously. Neither Donegan nor The New Republic responded to HuffPost's requests for comment.

"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".

"I only wanted to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged", Moira Donegan wrote in an essay published by NY magazine's The Cut website Wednesday night.

But as more and more women added their own names and descriptions of inappropriate behaviour to it, the list began to circulate far and wide.

Less than a day after its creation, the file's existence was revealed by BuzzFeed's Doree Shafrir.

On the list were men from major newspapers, publishing companies and literary magazines.


"In contrast, the value of the spreadsheet was that it had no enforcement mechanisms: Without legal authority or professional power, it offered an impartial, rather than adversarial, tool to those who used it", she wrote. "Fundamentally, a whisper network consists of private conversations, and the document that I created was meant to be private as well", Donegan writes.

In the wake of sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the rebirth of the #MeToo movement, many male anchors, journalists, and editors have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. Instead, the spreadsheet made a presumption that is still seen as radical: "That it is men, not women, who are responsible for men's sexual misconduct".

Its impact on her own life was profound as well.

The writer remained anonymous and lived in "fear of being exposed". This anxiety was heightened after Harper's Magazine reached out to her seeking confirmation that she was the list's creator. She said she later learned - via a Harper's fact checker - that Roiphe's piece identified her as, in the words of what she says was the fact-checker's email to her, "a woman widely believed to be one of the creators" of the list.

Moira Donegan has identified herself as the creator of the spreadsheet of sexual misconduct allegations against men in publishing and magazines. In early December, Roiphe had emailed me to ask if I wanted to comment for a Harper's story she was writing on the "feminist moment". The director has since disabled her Twitter page.

"They feared that I would be threatened, stalked, raped, or killed". "All of this was terrifying".

"She did not say that she knew I had created the spreadsheet".

Donegan says that the "experience of making the spreadsheet has shown me that it is still explosive, radical, and productively unsafe for women to say what we mean". But this doesn't mean that I've lowered my hopes.

"None of this was what I thought was going to happen", she explains.

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