On Wednesday, Moira Donegan came forward as the author of the ‘Shitty Media Men’ list, a spreadsheet that lists men in the industry who are rumored to be guilty of sexual misconduct and predatory behavior.
Donegan outed herself in an article for ‘The Cut’ amid speculation that Harper’s Magazine would publicly name the author of the list. The tweet in which she reveals her identity reads, “In October, I made a google document. My life has been strange and sometimes frightening ever since. I wrote about it for @TheCut.”
The ‘Shitty Media Men’ list named men, where they worked, and their alleged act of misconduct. In the 12 hours it circulated Internet, it grew to identify more than 70 alleged predators.
In her piece for ‘The Cut’, Donegan writes that she initially created the spreadsheet as “a first attempt at solving what has seemed like an intractable problem: how women can protect ourselves from sexual harassment and assault.”
So just who is Moira Donegan? What does she do, and what was her intent behind a list that has amassed so many names? Read on to find out.
1. She Is a Writer for Publications Like ‘The New Yorker’ and ‘Booforum’
Donegan is a writer, and has contributed to outlets like Bookforum, The New Yorker, and n+1. Though she hasn’t specified her age, she writes that she graduated in 2013.
According to her bio on News Republic, she worked as an Assistant Editor at the New Republic. In July 2017, she penned an article titled, “The Watermelon Woman Shows the Power of Gay History”, an examination of the Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 film The Watermelon Woman.
In another piece for The New Yorker titled “Rebecca Solnit’s Faith in Feminist Storytelling”, Donegan studies the nature of feminist storytelling in the book, “The Mother of All Questions”.
2. Director Lexi Alexander Claimed She Created the List to Protect Donegan
On Wednesday afternoon, director Lexi Alexander took to Twitter to write, “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.”
According to Deadline, Alexander said she wrote the list (along with a number of other women) in solidarity, and to protect Donegan’s true identity.
Alexander, a Palestinian-German-American film and TV director, has directed episodes of How to Get Away With Murder, Taken, American Gothic, Limitless, Arrow, and Supergirl. The latter two projects were executively produced by Andrew Kreisberg, who was fired in November after allegations of sexual harassment from more than a dozen people who worked on his team.
3. She Participated in the #MeToo Movement Outside Trump International Hotel in December
In a self-written piece for ‘London Review of Books’, Donegan chronicled her experience rallying outside Trump tower in New York City as part of the #MeToo movement.
She writes, “What’s new with #MeToo is that the intimacy of a consciousness-raising group has been extended to women who don’t know each other, and discussions of sexism have spilled out into the public sphere before audiences of men and women alike. An expression of woundedness and rage has been transformed into a demand for a better world.”
Donegan adits that she never intended for the spreadsheet she created to grow to the size, or reach as many hands, as it did. She says that in the beginning, she simply hoped to “create a place for women to share their stories” without being “discredited or judged.”
4. Katie Roiphe Asked Her If She Would Like to Comment on a Story for ‘Harper’s Magazine’ in Early December
Donegan came forward to reveal her identity only after journalist Katie Roiphe, who works for Harper’s Magazine, threatened to publish a piece that named her as the author of the list.
The article was scheduled for Harper’s March publication. Donegan writes in her piece that Roiphe emailed her in early December asking if she wanted to comment for a story she was writing on ‘the feminist movement’. At the time, Roiphe did not know Donegan created the spreadsheet.
She writes, “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.” Donegan says the fact checker wrote, “Were you involved in creating the list? If not, how would you respond to this allegation?”
5. She Says That She Lost Friends Once the List Was Made Public
Donegan admits that her life “changed dramatically” after her spreadsheet was released.
“I lost friends: some who thought I had been overzealous, others who thought I had not been zealous enough. I lost my job, too. The fear of being exposed, and of the harassment that will inevitably follow, has dominated my life since. I’ve learned that protecting women is a position that comes with few protections itself.”
Still, Donegan supports the movement and its ambitions. She writes, “Recent months have made clear that no amount of power or money can shield a woman from sexual misconduct. But like me, many of the women who used the spreadsheet are particularly vulnerable: We are young, new to the industry, and not yet influential in our fields.”