Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Creator of 'Media Men' List Reveals Her Identity

Creator of 'Media Men' List Reveals Her Identity

Revealing her identity as the author of the list, Moira Donegan claimed that she was incredibly naive while compiling the list that named around 70 powerful men in the media industry.

It's unclear which job Donegan was referring to in the article.

Cynical, because "At the time when I made it, I had become so accustomed to hearing about open secrets, to men whose bad behavior was universally known and perpetually immune from outcome, that it seemed like no one in power cared about the women who were most vulnerable to it..." Her name is Moira Donegan, and she broke the news with a detailed essay in The Cut outlining why she started the list, how it spiralled out of her control, and what she learnt from it. In her essay, she wrote that she had lost friends and her job after the list was published.

"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.

She added: "To keep perspective: the list itself is a very small part of long piece that has not yet closed".

It listed crowd-sourced rumours about and allegations of sexual misconduct by men in the United States media, becoming a whisper network for women. Donegan simply wanted to create the document as a place for women to share their stories without being discredited or judged by others. In a 1993 review of Roiphe's first book, The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism on Campus, the critic Katha Pollitt wrote that it was "a careless and irresponsible performance, poorly argued and full of misrepresentations, slapdash research, and gossip". She joined The New Republic in April; her last byline for the magazine appeared in July.

"Without legal authority or professional power, it offered an impartial, rather than adversarial, tool to those who used it", Donegan wrote about the list. But so much of the narrative discussed in numerous think pieces and Twitter threads hung on what women were to believe or not believe. "I was naïve because I did not understand the forces that would make the document go viral". "What I got instead was a much broader reckoning with the abuses of power that spanned an industry".

Its impact on her own life was profound as well.

According to her bio on News Republic, she worked as an Assistant Editor at the New Republic.

Given the speed of media in the age of social platforms, the subject of the article she has been working on for Harper's underwent a substantive change just hours after she spoke those words. Donegan says the fact checker wrote, "Were you involved in creating the list?"

The "Shitty Media Men" list that came into a short-lived existence during the Harvey Weinstein awakening enjoyed a second life of sorts Tuesday and Wednesday, in the form of a viral controversy about its creator and a pending magazine story about the #MeToo movement. What does she do, and what was her intent behind a list that has amassed so many names? To prevent that from happening, several women stepped forward to claim that the list was of their own making. The director has since disabled her Twitter page. She did not respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment. She wrote that her fear escalated once Roiphe emailed her for comment on a piece she was writing about the "feminist moment", and later again once a Harper's fact checker emailed her writing that Roiphe identified her as one of the list's creators, and asked for confirmation.

Why has she outed herself now?

"All of this was terrifying".

"She did not say that she knew I had created the spreadsheet".

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

Despite her concerns, Donegan expressed gratitude to the women who used the spreadsheet and shared it with others.

"Fundamentally, a whisper network consists of private conversations, and the document that I created was meant to be private as well". As the stories accumulated and it became clear that many, many more women were using the document than I had ever imagined, I realised that I had created something that had grown rapidly beyond my control.

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