Last fall, a crowdsourced spreadsheet titled “Shitty Media Men” began privately circulating among women in media. A new variation on a whisper network, it named powerful men in media who were known by female colleagues to have engaged in inappropriate—sometimes criminal—sexual behavior.
As the spreadsheet grew longer and longer, and landed in more and more inboxes, some of the men on the list were investigated by their workplaces, some were fired, but many remained at their jobs—and, let’s face it, probably went to the company holiday party, got plastered (but not at Vox), and groused in the corner with other males before rallying the posse over to Pumps. The work is not done.
The power and effectiveness of “Shitty Media Men” depended on its anonymous contributors, who were free to add their stories to the sheet without fear of retribution. This week, however, that anonymity was threatened with rumors that Harper’s March issue would include an article by Katie Roiphe exposing the identity of the list’s originator. Before that could happen, though, Moira Donegan stepped forward yesterday as the list’s author in a powerful, must-read article, “I Started the Media Men List”:
Last summer, I saw two of the most notorious of these men clutching beers and laughing together at a party for a magazine in Brooklyn. “Doesn’t everyone know about them?” another woman whispered to me. “I can’t believe they’re still invited to these things.” But of course we could believe it. By then, we’d become resigned to the knowledge that men like them were invited everywhere.
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