The creator of an online spreadsheet, Sh*tty Media Men, that listed men in the media that were alleged to have abused women has revealed her identity, writer Moira Donegan, amid rumors that she was meant to be identified by a magazine.
Since its inception, the spreadsheet had been subject to criticism
The original Google spreadsheet was set up in October and was online for 12 hours, listing over 70 men with allegations ranging from sexual harassment to rape.
Donegan revealed her identity in an article for The Cut. As she explained, since the spreadsheet first appeared, the list was subject to both criticism and praise; naming some of the criticism:
“Many called the document irresponsible, emphasizing that since it was anonymous, false accusations could be added without consequence. Others said that it ignored established channels in favor of what they thought was vigilantism and that they felt uncomfortable that it contained allegations both of violent assaults and inappropriate messages. Still, other people just saw it as catty and mean, something like the “Burn Book” from Mean Girls.”
Although she added that some of the detractors were sympathetic, many still thought the idea was too “radical.” As she explained, in time, the list also inspired some companies to launch investigations against some of the men named in the spreadsheet.
Donegan’s original goal was to ‘create a place for women to share their stories’
Originally, however, she wrote that she only wanted to give women a safe space to discuss harassment with worry:
“I only wanted to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged. The hope was to create an alternate avenue to report this kind of behavior and warn others without fear of retaliation.”
That said, she also admitted to becoming “overwhelmed and scared” as more and more names were added to the spreadsheet. She also began to worry that she was risking her career with the list.
She also added that she was surprised by how much focus the list got in the media:
“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.”
What inspired Donegan into revealing herself?
Donegan may have been influenced to reveal herself after it was rumored that the author of the spreadsheet was to be named by Harper’s magazine. As speculation grew, it was feared that the previously anonymous creator would be subjected to abuse and threats, with some writers even threatening to stop writing for the magazine in protest.
The writer of a scheduled article discussing the spreadsheet, Katie Roiphe, denied that they would be naming anyone in the article. As she explained to the New York Times, “I would never put in the creator of the list if they didn’t want to be named…I would not have mentioned it without her approval. I want to be clear on that.”