Man Named in 'Shitty Media Men' List Sues Woman Who Created It

Writer Stephen Elliott leveled a $1.5 million suit against Moira Donegan for creating the list which names him as an alleged rapist.

|
Oct 11 2018, 10:30pm

On the year anniversary of the "Shitty Media Men" list, its creator, Moira Donegan, is facing a $1.5 million lawsuit.

On Wednesday, writer Stephen Elliott filed a legal complaint against Donegan, alleging that she and the 30 other Jane Does who contributed to the document published defamatory allegations without corroborating evidence, which were damaging to his "reputation and good name."

In order to learn the identities of the anonymous women who edited the list—which started out as a private Google spreadsheet—Elliott plans on subpoenaing Google to track down their IP addresses, email addresses, and Google accounts, according to the suit.

Elliot's name appeared on the spreadsheet alongside those of more than 70 other men, many of whom were later investigated and lost jobs after some of the allegations attributed to them were substantiated.

The allegations against Elliott included, according to the original Shitty Media Men list: “Rape accusations, sexual harassment, coercion," and "unsolicited invitations to his apartment."

Elliott responded to these accusations recently in an essay for Quillette, where he wrote that they had "derailed" his life, claiming that he'd been denied professional opportunities as a result: a book of his essays was "greeted with silence" upon its release; The Paris Review didn't run an interview a writer had already conducted with him; he was "disinvited from several events."

"What does 'believe women' mean when it isn’t even clear that an anonymous accuser is a woman?" Elliott argued in the piece, which drew great ire from women in literary and media circles, who later leveled further allegations of harassment and misconduct against him. "Anyone—male or female—with access to the list could have added my name while it was online."

Donegan outed herself as the creator of the list in January, following rumblings that Katie Roiphe planned to name Donegan without her consent in an impending story for Harper's.

In a first-person account for The Cut, Donegan wrote that she'd never intended for the list to become public, and had only hoped to create an alternative space for women to share their stories "without being needlessly discredited or judged."

"The hope was to create an alternate avenue to report this kind of behavior and warn others without fear of retaliation," Donegan wrote at the time. "Too often, for someone looking to report an incident or to make habitual behavior stop, all the available options are bad ones."

Donegan declined Broadly's request for comment, but earlier this week, in a piece for the site, she reflected on how women's voices have fueled the first year of the #MeToo movement.

"It is useful to remember that even if consciousness-raising isn’t sufficient for social change, it is always a prerequisite," she wrote. "If we cannot name our oppression—if we cannot articulate the violence that has been done to us—it will be impossible to fight against it, or to prevent it from happening again."