By Heidi Stevens
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Moira Donegan who outed herself as the person behind the “Shitty Media Men” list says she began the list in an attempt to provide a layer of protection to the women in her industry. She says she was taken aback by how many people, even powerful people, gave it the time of day.
The creator of the “Shitty Media Men” list identified herself in a piece published on New York Magazine’s blog, The Cut, after days of speculation over whether another magazine was going to out her in March.
Moira Donegan, whose bylines have appeared in the London Review of Books and The New Yorker, writes that she created the Google spreadsheet in October, collecting “a range of rumors and allegations of sexual misconduct, much of it violent, by men in magazines and publishing.”
“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,” she writes.
She took the document offline after 12 hours, but it had already gone viral.
“I can’t pretend that the spreadsheet didn’t frighten me,” she writes. “As the stories accumulated and it became clear that many, many more women were using the document than I had ever imagined, I realized that I had created something that had grown rapidly beyond my control. I was overwhelmed and scared. That night, I went to a friend’s house to make dinner, and while I was there I confided in her about my fears. I worried that managing the document would eventually put me in the uncomfortable position of needing to decide whose stories belonged there and whose didn’t. I thought that I would lose my job and the career I’d worked so hard to build. My friend could hear the anxiety in my voice; she urged me to take the document down. But I was conflicted. What was going on there was clearly cathartic for the women who were using it, telling their stories, encouraging one another, saying that it had happened to them too. Many women don’t have the privileges that mitigate the risks of doing such a thing, privileges like whiteness, health, education, and class, and I do; it would be easier for me than for other people.”