A woman who says she started a spreadsheet compiling alleged male sexual harassers and harassers in American media outed herself online in an apparent attempt to preempt any doxxing from an upcoming Harper’s Magazine expose.
“In the beginning, I only wanted to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged,” Moira Donegan wrote in a piece published late Wednesday on The Cut. “The hope was to create an alternate avenue to report this kind of behavior and warn others without fear of retaliation.”
Earlier in the evening, Lexi Alexander, a Palestinian-American-German filmmaker and former martial arts champion, announced on Twitter that she had created the 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,” she said.
Alexander later tweeted that it was indeed Donegan who initially created the list.
The spreadsheet in question, dubbed the “Shitty Media Men” list, is a compilation of dozens of crowdsourced names of alleged abusers, harassers, and creeps in the media and publishing world, primarily in New York. The list, which admits being “only a collection of misconduct allegations” which advises readers to “take everything with a grain of salt” includes everything from rape accusations to groping to verbal abuse. The list began circulating in October but, because of the extent of the allegations, it has remained an open secret in the media world.
Earlier this week, rumors began to circulate that Harper’s Magazine would be publishing a piece in its March issue outing the creator of the list. There was severe backlash online to the idea of the piece being published, first because it would provide trolls a perfect target for stalking, doxxing, and harassment, but also because the piece’s author, Katie Roiphe, is famous for writing a piece in the 1990s that ridiculed the idea of date rape.
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
Donegan writes that she learned this week that Roiphe intended to print her name in the Harper’s piece, a revelation that sparked outrage on Twitter the next day. “The outrage made it seem inevitable that my identity would be exposed even before the Roiphe piece ran,” she wrote. “All of this was terrifying. I still don’t know what kind of future awaits me now that I’ve stopped hiding.”
However, in an interview with the New York Times published on Wednesday, Roiphe claimed that she would not be outing anyone after all. “I am looking forward to talking about what is actually in the piece when it actually comes out,” she said. “I am not ‘outing’ anyone. I have to say it’s a little disturbing that anyone besides Trump views Twitter as a reliable news source.” Roiphe added that she would “never” name someone in an article if the person didn’t agree to it.
According to emails obtained by the Times, a Harper’s fact-checker contacted the woman said to be the creator of the list and was identified in the article as someone “widely believed” to be responsible. Roiphe however said that she wouldn’t have mentioned the creator in the final draft without the woman’s approval.
CORRECTION: This piece has been updated to reflect the fact that Donegan came forward to claim responsibility for creating the “Shitty Media Men” list, not Alexander, and that Harper’s Magazine was planning on revealing the story of the list’s creator in March, not October. The headline has also been clarified to indicate that Donegan “outed” her identity as the creator of the list, rather than “doxxed” herself — which typically refers to revealing personal information like a home address or phone number that can be used to target the subject.