Shitty Media Men

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Shitty Media Men was a crowdsourced Google spreadsheet created during October 2017 that collected allegations and rumors of sexual misconduct against approximately 70 men[1] in the media industry, particularly in New York City. Moira Donegan, a former assistant editor at The New Republic, initially began the spreadsheet online anonymously.

Initial creation[edit]

In October 2017, Donegan posted the spreadsheet, which allowed anonymous contributions to supplement existing "whisper networks" about allegations of sexual harassment and violence in the media industry.[2] The list—in the form of a shared Google spreadsheet—was active for around 12 hours, during which time it quickly went viral within media circles.[3] Upon learning that BuzzFeed intended to publish an article about it, Donegan took it down.

Reaction in the industry[edit]

On October 16, 2017, alt-right social media personality Mike Cernovich tweeted that he was willing to pay $10,000 for a copy of the list. Cernovich later said that a source sent him the list but "…was insistent on not accepting anything." On October 21, Cernovich promised to publish the listed names, but after identifying two journalists he consulted his lawyer and held back the rest.[4]

On October 25, 2017—after obtaining a copy of the list—Politico contacted several publications with writers on the list. The New York Times explained that since there had been no internal complaints connected to people on the list, there were no investigations. New York magazine's publisher, New York Media, said that in the case of its employees on the list, "We have reviewed whether any type of action is appropriate and have acted accordingly. It is New York Media's policy not to disclose publicly any findings or actions taken as a result of this process so as to preserve the confidential and sensitive nature of these matters." As for BuzzFeed writers on the list, one staffer said the names weren't a total surprise to many, and that the reputations of those men preceded them.[4]

The list also contained the names of multiple employees at The New Republic and The New Yorker who had multiple accusations levied against them as indicated by their entries in the list being highlighted in red. As Vox pointed out "…none of the men who appear on the Shitty Media Men list, even those who were accused of multiple counts of rape, have faced criminal charges."[5][6]

Impact and fallout[edit]

On October 27, 2017, The Atlantic terminated the employment of prominent editor Leon Wieseltier, who was among those named in the list, due to allegations of sexual harassment.[7][8]

In November 2017, BuzzFeed began an investigation of employees from their staff named on the list, including its White House correspondent, Adrian Carrasquillo. In December 2017—following a new complaint of inappropriate comments sent to a coworker—Carrasquillo was fired by BuzzFeed for violating their code of conduct.[9]

On December 6, 2017, Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review, resigned amid an internal investigation into his behavior toward female employees and writers. He had informed board members that his name was on the list of anonymous allegations of harassment and misconduct by men in publishing and media. He also resigned as editor at large of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.[10]

Purported Harper's article[edit]

In January 2018, while the list was still being discussed in the media, it was rumored that Harper's planned to publish the name of the list's creator in an article written by Katie Roiphe, which elicited concern of doxing—and the general safety—of the list's creator. The rumors prompted Moira Donegan to preemptively come forward as the list's creator.[11][12]

Lawsuit[edit]

On 10 October 2018, Stephen Elliott, a writer based in New Orleans,[13] and founder of the literary site the Rumpus,[14] filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York against "Moira Donegan and Jane Does (1-30)" seeking $1.5 million in damages.[15][16][17] Donegan is represented by Robbie Kaplan,[18] a co-founder of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund and Elliott is represented by Andrew Miltenberg,[19] a sexual assault defense attorney.[20][21][22][23][24][25] Elliott's lawsuit seeks to make public the identities of those who contributed to the crowd-sourced Google spreadsheet.[14][26][27][28][29]

Google reportedly told The Daily Beast that it would "oppose any attempt by Mr. Elliott to obtain information about this document from us."[30]

In an essay titled "We stand with Moira Donegan" at the Rumpus, which Elliott founded, the site's current owner and editor in chief Marisa Siegel wrote, "Stephen's decision to go after Moira is hostile and reprehensible. For me, it is unforgivable. ... Stephen's desire to remain in the spotlight, to refuse to have his career wrested from him as a consequence of his own actions, has taken primacy over logic and sanity."[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rosenfeld, Jordana (12 January 2018). "What Moira Donegan Did for Young Women Writers". The Nation. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. ^ Donegan, Moira (10 January 2018). "I Started the Media Men List My name is Moira Donegan". The Cut. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  3. ^ Warren, James (12 January 2018). "A word of caution: Documents like that media men list are like 'Wikipedia wrapped in razor blades'". Poynter. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b Calderone, Michael; Schwartz, Jason (25 October 2017). "Blogger amends vow to publish list of 'Shitty Media Men'". Politico. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ Constance, Grady (11 January 2018). "The "Shitty Media Men" list, explained". Vox. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  6. ^ Shafrir, Doree (12 October 2017). "What To Do With "Shitty Media Men"?". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  7. ^ LaFrance, Adrienne (24 October 2017). "The 'Harvey Effect' Takes Down Leon Wieseltier's Magazine". The Atlantic.
  8. ^ Cottle, Michelle (27 October 2017). "Reckoning With a Powerful Man's Bad Behavior". The Atlantic.
  9. ^ Tani, Maxwell (27 December 2017). "BuzzFeed has fired its White House correspondent after allegations of inappropriate comments to a colleague". Business Insider. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  10. ^ Alter, Alexandra; Ember, Sydney (6 December 2017). "Paris Review Editor Resigns Amid Inquiry Into His Conduct With Women". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  11. ^ Peiser, Jaclyn (10 January 2018). "'Media Men' List Creator Outs Herself, Fearing She Would Be Named". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  12. ^ Chang, Clio (9 January 2018). "I Can't Believe This Needs Saying but Doxxing the Woman Behind the Shitty Media Men List Is Wrong". Splinter. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Creator of notorious 'Media Men' list of anonymous sexual accusations is sued by writer who says it nearly ruined him". chron.com. 12 October 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  14. ^ a b "The "Shitty Media Men" list lawsuit is freaking out women in media". vice.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Opinion - What Do You Do When You Are Anonymously Accused of Rape?". nytimes.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  16. ^ "The attorney spearheading the "Shitty Media Men" lawsuit is a top defender of accused campus rapists". motherjones.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  17. ^ "'Sh*tty Media Men' List Creator Moira Donegan Sued for $1.5 Million". The Daily Beast. 12 October 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  18. ^ Spencer, Ruth. "Robbie Kaplan Sees Right Through Stephen Elliot's Lawsuit". thecut.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  19. ^ Paiella, Gabriella. "Stephen Elliott's Lawyer Doesn't Want to Bring Up Soviet Russia, But…". thecut.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  20. ^ Canon, Gabrielle (14 October 2018). "Shitty Media Men list: lawyer wants to expose women who contributed". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Elliott et al v. Donegan". law360.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Creator of notorious 'Media Men' list of anonymous sexual accusations is sued by writer who says it nearly ruined him". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  23. ^ Stephen Elliott (25 September 2018). "How An Anonymous Accusation Derailed My Life". quillette.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  24. ^ Spencer, Ruth. "Stephen Elliott Sues Moira Donegan, Creator of Shitty Media Men List". thecut.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Sexual Assault". New York Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Stephen Elliott's complaint against Moira Donegan and Jane Does (1-30) - Damages - Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress". Scribd. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Elliott v. Donegan et al (1:18-cv-05680), New York Eastern District Court". www.pacermonitor.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Lawyers on opposite sides of #MeToo litigation face off in suit over crowdsourced accusation list". abajournal.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Writer sues creator of crowdsourced spreadsheet that accused him of abuse, seeks to out contributors". abajournal.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  30. ^ a b Schaub, Michael. "Writer Stephen Elliott sues Media Men List creator Moira Donegan; supporters raise more than $100,000 for her defense -". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 October 2018.