Creator Of ‘Shitty Media Men’ List Comes Forward In Thoughtful Op-Ed Published In The Cut
- IWB Post
- January 11, 2018
After Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was exposed as a sexual predator last year, the conversation around sexual abuse and harassment gained momentum, especially in the US. In October, a spreadsheet titled Shitty Media Men started doing the rounds, where women could anonymously chronicle harassment they’d faced at the hands of media professionals. Yesterday, the creator of the list revealed her identity.
Shitty Media Men was supposed to be a private document, but partially because of its subject and partially because it was 2017, it ended up going viral, became the subject of a BuzzFeed article, and was later uploaded to Reddit. While copies of the list continued to float around, the creator took it down, but not before it sparked heated discussions about the ethics of making such a list.
Recently, rumours started doing the rounds that Harper’s magazine was about to publish a piece on the list, outing its creator. While Twitter was busy weighing the pros and cons of that, Moira Donegan wrote an op-ed for The Cut, coming forward as the woman who made the spreadsheet.
In October, I made a google document. My life has been strange and sometimes frightening ever since. I wrote about it for @TheCut. https://t.co/wj8vkvawL4
She explains how she started the spreadsheet, what she thought it would be about, and what it eventually turned into. “I had imagined a document that would assemble the collective, unspoken knowledge of sexual misconduct that was shared by the women in my circles: What I got instead was a much broader reckoning with abuses of power that spanned an industry. By the time I had to take the document down, more than 70 men had been named on the version that I was managing,” she writes.
She admits that the life the spreadsheet took on its own scared her, and she felt conflicted about taking it down. “I was incredibly naïve when I made the spreadsheet. I was naïve because I did not understand the forces that would make the document go viral. I was naïve because I thought that the document would not be made public, and when it became clear that it would be, I was naïve because I thought that the focus would be on the behavior described in the document, rather than on the document itself. It is hard to believe, in retrospect, that I really thought this. But I did.”
Eventually, she lost several friends and her job. She constantly worried about being exposed, and that is why she ultimately decide to write the op-ed. Regardless of how one might feel about the spreadsheet, Donegan is a brave woman who was frustrated by the inaction around sexual abuse and wanted to do something, which is more than what any of us can say we’re doing. She, and only she, has the right to reveal her identity because, in this time and age, it is incredibly difficult and dangerous for a woman to challenge the power structures that have protected sexual predators for years.
She ends her piece by writing, “Like a lot of feminists, I think about how women can build power, help one another, and work toward justice. But it is less common for us to examine the ways we might wield the power we already have. Among the most potent of these powers is the knowledge of our own experiences. The women who used the spreadsheet, and who spread it to others, used this power in a special way, and I’m thankful to all of them.”
Read Donegan’s full op-ed here.
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