Women try to shield maker of sex-pest list

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Despite her concerns, Donegan expressed gratitude to the women who used the spreadsheet and shared it with others.

"Over the past months I've also had many long, frank conversations with other journalists, men and women, about sexual harassment and assault in our industry", she wrote. Quite soon after its creation, Donegan realized that the list has become too viral and removed it from public view (though the now-uneditable document still survives in widely distributed screenshots).

Within a few days, after becoming the subject of a story on Buzzfeed News and being uploaded to Reddit, the list gained attention. It was attacked in commentaries as irresponsible.

The story, is expected to out the woman behind the list.

Why has she outed herself now?

Hours before Donegan's piece dropped, tens of women posted "Spartacus"-style tweets taking responsibility for the list in an effort to protect her identity". Donegan had hoped that the anonymity of the list would "protect its users from retaliation".

Last night, In a powerful first-person essay for NY magazine's The Cut, former New Republic editor Moira Donegan surprised everyone by revealing that she created the crowdsourced document.

On Wednesday night, the Cut published "I Started the Media Men List". She is Moira Donegan.

She acknowledges the flaws of the exercise, namely false accusations, and notes the disclaimer up top that read: "This document is only a collection of misconduct allegations and rumors".

Her point, timely and devastating, arguably also applies to an embattled contrarian like Roiphe-or at least, it describes an experience the embattled contrarian writer would probably also recognize. Before that, she was an associate editor for the literary magazine n+1. Regardless, Donegan gives her thanks to those who made the document what it was and found solace in the text, and the text between the lines. "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".

The author said that "Sh**ty Media Men" was only available for approximately 12 hours, and she didn't expect that it would spread as far and as quickly as it did.

"I was incredibly naïve when I made the spreadsheet", Donegan writes. The file also prompted an industry-wide "reckoning with abuses of power", Donegan wrote.

The spreadsheet led to a number of investigations in news outlets, and even some firings of men listed.

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Roiphe said she was not surprised by how people were responding to her on social media.

Donegan revealed that she has lost friends and her job over the fiasco.

"The fear of being exposed, and of the harassment that will inevitably follow, has dominated my life since", she wrote. "I've learned that protecting women is a position that comes with few protections itself".

"The risk of doxxing is high", Tortorici wrote, referring to the practice of online critics publishing people's personal, private information against their ideological opponents without their consent.

Harper's is reportedly still planning on running a feature about the list, written by Katie Roiphe, in its March issue, although the specific angle and contents of the article are now unknown. If this were true, she said, "the backlash is well and truly here and it will NOT be pretty". Cliffe added, in later Twitter posts of her own, that Roiphe was writing her article for the March issue of Harper's and implored magazine writers to pull their work from the general interest monthly as a protest.

By Wednesday afternoon, Cliffe, who declined to comment for this article, had pledged to pay more than $19,000 to reporters who had pulled their stories from Harper's, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Instead, the list was meant to help women stay safe.

Donegan said she started the Google document as "a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged".

"None of this was what I thought was going to happen", she said, noting that the traditional means of reporting incidents are often bad ones, from going to ineffective HR staffers to police departments that are "notoriously inept" at handling sexual assault cases. "I am not "outing" anyone".

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.

And Roiphe, the essayist, told NBC News via email: "I understand why people are confused about my intentions".