Women try to shield maker of sex-pest list

Share

It was attacked in commentaries as irresponsible.

When rumours emerged that Harper's magazine planned to unmask the list's creator, several writers withdrew their articles from the magazine and at least one company threatened to pull its advertisements. "Many of these networks have been invaluable in protecting their members", she continued.

Then, late Wednesday night, a lengthy piece was published in NY magazine's the Cut website.

Moira Donegan is the author of the controversial spreadsheet titled "Sh**ty Media Men".

"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. What we do know is that Roiphe's reporting got a lot of free publicity-thanks to which we now know, for better or worse, that Donegan started the spreadsheet.

She said the document was meant to be private and naively did not foresee that it could go viral or be picked up by the media. She took the spreadsheet offline after 12 hours; more than 70 men had been named and 14 had been highlighted in red, noting more than one accusation of sexual assault or rape.

"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 wrote. "Many called the document irresponsible, emphasizing that since it was anonymous, false accusations could be added without outcome", wrote Donegan.

Some noted the impact that Donegan's list had in getting men fired after the allegations contained in the list were investigated.

"The fear of being exposed, and of the harassment that will inevitably follow, has dominated my life since", she wrote.

Donegan made a decision to come clean about her deed after she learned that Harper's magazine was about to expose her identity through a story written by Katie Roiphe.

Donegan said she lost her job and a number of friends after the spreadsheet was exposed.

She writes, "I declined and heard nothing more from Roiphe or Harper's until I received an email from a fact checker with questions about Roiphe's piece".

The article was scheduled for Harper's March publication. "All I can say is: don't. It's not the right thing to do", N+1 editor in chief Dayna Tortorici tweeted Tuesday afternoon, setting off a social media tsunami. After he took the photo, she said, Greitens apologized and told her he deleted the picture.

Some began a campaign to have writers pull their work from Harper's, as a way to pressure the magazine to halt the publishing of the author's name. However, she did not elaborate on the circumstances that led to her losing her job.

Cliffe even offered to pay the writers for pulling the plug on the story.

But if the person who started the list is newsworthy due to their power or influence in the industry, or because they were acting out of bad faith, then there is real weight on the other side of the scale.

The list's creator remained a secret until this week, when Harper's Magazine confirmed it meant to publish a story by writer Katie Roiphe that would expose the identity of the author. "I am not "outing" anyone".

A spokeswoman for Harper's told the Times that just because a fact-checker reached out to Donegan did not mean her name was ever going to be included in the final version.

A newly-created Twitter account that appeared to belong to Roiphe, put out two tweets on Wednesday, addressing the criticism directed at her.

After Donegan unveiled her identity Wednesday night, women rallied around her on social media, describing her efforts as courageous and validating.

Donegan also participated in the #MeToo movement organized outside the Trump International Hotel in December. I thought that women could create a document with the aim of helping one another in part because I assumed that people with authority didn't care about what we had to say there. She also says she didn't expect that naming a man as a harasser would have consequences for him, describing it as a notion born out of cynicism. "I wrote about it for @TheCut".

Donegan says that the "experience of making the spreadsheet has shown me that it is still explosive, radical, and productively risky for women to say what we mean".

Share