It has been called, among many things, a "Burn Book" about predatory men (à la Mean Girls), the height of internet vigilantism, and just plain shortsighted. By it, we're referring to the "Sh*tty Media Men," a crowdsourced document that came to the internet's attention last year for listing predatory men in the media.
The "Shitty Media Men" list, explained https://t.co/DZG9Yo7d1P— Vox (@Vox)1515700817.0
What happened to the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” list shows why the list was needed https://t.co/Ptb8gJgbRe https://t.co/HI7QDbDzSo— All Financial Online (@All Financial Online)1515698566.0
It’s come to my attention that a legacy print magazine is planning to publish a piece “outing" the woman who started the Shitty Media Men list. All I can say is: don’t. The risk of doxxing is high. It’s not the right thing to do.— Dayna Tortorici (@dtortorici) January 9, 2018
I'm interrupting my break for one tweet only, so take a screenshot: I created the shitty men in media list. You don't need to doxx me, just head to my Instagram account, it's easy to find out where I hang out if you want to say hi.— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) January 10, 2018
Hold up. Mandy @harpers should know that I am the real author of the #shittymediamen list. If they publish #KatieRoiphe piece asserting another woman is behind it, not only will they ruin an innocent woman's life, but their credibility is shot forever. Best rethink this @gmelucci— KELLY RYAN O'BRIEN ESTA AKI (@kellyryanobrien) January 10, 2018
If you have a piece in the hopper over at @Harpers, ask your editor if the Roiphe piece is happening. If it is, I will pay you cash for what you’d lose by yanking it. My email is nicole dot cliffe at gmail.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) January 9, 2018
On Wednesday, however, something unexpected happened. The author of the List doxxed herself
Unsurprisingly I now have a nice little stable of great ex-Harper’s pieces (some reported, some not) that could use new homes, from writers who would prefer not to go public. I can match-make if editors email me.— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) January 10, 2018
I started the Media Men list. My name is Moira Donegan. https://t.co/vgVjdECy2U https://t.co/9IHihDin9x— The Cut (@The Cut)1515641346.0
In October, I created a Google spreadsheet called “Shitty Media Men" that collected 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.
1/ Rumor is, a traditional print magazine is about to out the woman that created the “Shitty Media Men" list, which would be beyond unethical.If they do this, I want to tell you everything that will happen to her. I’m certain because it all happened to me. — Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) January 9, 2018
2/ ✅ She will get death threats to the point she will have to leave her home ✅ Same with rape threats ✅ Everything she’s ever done in her career will be poured over in attempt to get her fired ✅ Her family will be threatened. If she has kids, they’ll be threatened too— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) January 9, 2018
3/ Worst of all, this will NEVER END for her. Gamergate was almost four years ago, and I’m still dealing with it.It is journalistically indefensible to put her in danger. There is no public interest. You will end up a cautionary tale in a journalism textbook if you publish. — Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) January 9, 2018
Too often, for someone looking to report an incident or to make habitual behavior stop, all the available options are bad ones. The police are notoriously inept at handling sexual-assault cases. Human-resources departments, in offices that have them, are tasked not with protecting employees but with shielding the company from liability — meaning that in the frequent occasion that the offender is a member of management and the victim is not, HR’s priorities lie with the accused.
Curiosities: “All Of This Was Terrifying” - This Woman Says She Created The "Shitty Media Men" List View Entire Pos… https://t.co/hnZ3wUgp4J— Aneudy Patiño M. (@Aneudy Patiño M.)1515695503.0
There were pitfalls. The document was indeed vulnerable to false accusations, a concern I took seriously. I added a disclaimer to the top of the spreadsheet: “This document is only a collection of misconduct allegations and rumors. Take everything with a grain of salt." I sympathize with the desire to be careful, even as all available information suggests that false allegations are rare. The spreadsheet only had the power to inform women of allegations that were being made and to trust them to judge the quality of that information for themselves and to make their own choices accordingly. This, too, is still seen as radical: the idea that women are skeptical, that we can think and judge and choose for ourselves what to believe and what not to.
In some of these conversations, we spent hours teasing out how these men, many of whom we knew to be intelligent and capable of real kindness, could behave so crudely and cruelly toward us. And this is another toll that sexual harassment can take on women: It can make you spend hours dissecting the psychology of the kind of men who do not think about your interiority much at all.
It's not the list, it's the shitty men. https://t.co/KyqMrGx3O2— Kevin Moore (@Kevin Moore)1515696493.0
[My fear] escalated when I learned Katie Roiphe would be publishing my name in a forthcoming piece in Harper’smagazine. In early December, Roiphe had emailed me to ask if I wanted to comment for a Harper’s story she was writing on the “feminist moment." She did not say that she knew I had created the spreadsheet. 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. “Katie identifies you as a woman widely believed to be one of the creators of the Shitty Men in Media List," the fact checker wrote. “Were you involved in creating the list? If not, how would you respond to this allegation?"
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.