Moira Donegan made the list so women could speak without being harassed. Now she faces harassment.
Moira Donegan created the “Shitty Media Men” list so that women could talk privately about men they believed were dangerous. The list brought together women’s reports about dozens of men in journalism and publishing, with allegations ranging from inappropriate messages to sexual assault. Until this week, the name of its creator was not publicly known.
Donegan, a writer and former staffer at the New Republic, changed that on Wednesday night with an essay at the New York magazine vertical the Cut explaining how and why she came to create the list.
By making a crowdsourced document of women’s anonymous reports of sexual harassment, assault, and other misconduct, Donegan had hoped, she wrote, “to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged.”
Women have long sought to protect themselves and others by using whisper networks, she wrote: “Informal alliances that pass on open secrets and warn women away from serial assaulters.” The list was a “whisper network” in Google spreadsheet form.
What happened to Donegan when the list became public knowledge shows exactly why women needed such a tool in the first place. Donegan had hoped that the anonymity of the list would “protect its users from retaliation.”
“No one could be fired, harassed, or publicly smeared for telling her story when that story was not attached to her name,” she wrote. But the public exposure of the list quickly led to debates about due process for accused men, debates in which the safety of women reporting harassment often fell by the wayside.
Many women, Donegan wrote, told her they were too afraid to add their experiences to the list, even anonymously. Looking at what she Read More Here