In October, a Google spreadsheet entitled “Shitty Media Men” was posted. The idea was for women to be able to post their experiences of sexual harassment by media men. The list took off, but the originator became concerned about the potential trouble it could bring her and others and pulled it after a day or so. Of course, nothing on the internet is completely gone.
The list was an outgrowth of the informal networks women have had to warn each other about harassers and a response to the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. The originator did not reveal her name. Yesterday Moira Donegan came out in an article in “The Cut.” Apparently there was quite a bit on the list, although I haven’t seen it.
Her coming out was in response to a planned article in Harper’s Magazine by Katie Roiphe. Roiphe made her name by arguing for the status quo in sexual harassment back in the 1990s. She doesn’t seem to have changed her mind much.
As word spread of the Harper’s article, Nicole Cliffe, editor of the now-defunct “The Toast” (which had some great interpretations of famous paintings and other good stuff), said she would pay writers who might have articles lined up at Harper’s for their articles if they would pull them. Apparently some have.
Roiphe said that she did not know the name of the list originator, but Donegan says that a Harper’s fact-checker called her to ask if she was the one.
The New York Times has a long article with more details. It’s worth reading that and Donegan’s article before exploding in outrage one way or another. Roiphe’s article, undoubtedly undergoing massive revision, is scheduled for the March Harper’s.
The Times revelations about Weinstein opened up a can of worms. It’s about time that these genteelly protected rapists and harassers were outed. But it’s still not clear that it’s safe for women to do, hence the protection of their identities. The change in expectations is very sudden, although I’m sure that academics will be tracing a long history of attempts to end the acceptance of this mistreatment that have failed. Roiphe began her rearguard actions in the early 1990s.
It’s hard for men to process this, and a great many have taken advantage of their societal protection. The anonymity can be abused, but that is also an excuse that has been used to ignore the calls for help. Let’s see how Donegan is treated.