The saga of Katie Roiphe’s ill-conceived forthcoming Harper’s piece continues: Late Wednesday night, a woman who says she initially created the Shitty Media Men spreadsheet penned a poignant essay for New York Magazine’s The Cut, revealing her identity and explaining what drove her to create, disseminate, and eventually make private the crowd-sourced Google Doc that detailed the behavior of predatory men in New York media.
The woman, Moira Donegan, wrote that she “wanted to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged.” She continued:
The hope was to create an alternate avenue to report this kind of behavior and warn others without fear of retaliation. Too often, for someone looking to report an incident or to make habitual behavior stop, all the available options are bad ones. ... In contrast, the value of the spreadsheet was that it had no enforcement mechanisms: Without legal authority or professional power, it offered an impartial, rather than adversarial, tool to those who used it. It was intended specifically not to inflict consequences, not to be a weapon — and yet, once it became public, many people immediately saw it as exactly that.
Donegan also noted toward the end of her essay that Roiphe contacted her in December, asking her to comment, apropos of nothing, “on the ‘feminist moment,’” and did not mention that she knew Donegan created the spreadsheet. It wasn’t until a fact-checker emailed Donegan this week asking for a comment that she knew the magazine planned to include her name in Roiphe’s piece. Donegan writes (emphasis mine):
“Katie identifies you as a woman widely believed to be one of the creators of the Shitty Men in Media List,” the fact checker wrote. “Were you involved in creating the list? If not, how would you respond to this allegation?” The next day, a controversy ensued on Twitter after Roiphe’s intention to reveal my identity was made public.
In a statement given Wednesday afternoon to The New York Times—before Donegan published her essay—Roiphe vociferously denied that she planned on including Donegan’s name in the piece; she insisted that she didn’t even know the identity of the woman who created the spreadsheet.