Back in October, a spreadsheet titled “SHITTY MEDIA MEN” became a safe place for women to share their experiences of abuse and harassment.
The Google document became a way to anonymously crowdsource information about men in the industry accused of misconduct, ranging from sending inappropriate messages to assault and rape.
Now the alleged creator of the spreadsheet has stepped forward in an article for New York Magazine, published on Wednesday.
Writer Moira Donegan explained her document was a “first attempt at solving what has seemed like an intractable problem: how women can protect ourselves from sexual harassment and assault.”
The document initially was meant to be private, an extension of the “whisper network” — an informal alliance aimed to pass on open secrets and warn women of serial assaulters and predators.
However, Donegan said the document spread “further and much faster than I ever anticipated” in the hours after it was created. It was later written about by BuzzFeed and published on Reddit.
Donegan’s article followed multiple claims by other women who said they were the creator of the spreadsheet — a bid to protect the actual creator, who allegedly was set to be outed in a Harper‘s article by essayist Katie Roiphe.
Filmmaker Lexi Alexander was the center of some media attention when she wrote a tweet claiming to be the creator.
I’m interrupting my break for one tweet only, so take a screenshot: I created the shitty men in media list. You don’t need to doxx me, just head to my Instagram account, it’s easy to find out where I hang out if you want to say hi.
— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) January 10, 2018
But then stepped back when Donegan’s article was published.
Here is the real creator of the list. If you doxx or harm her I will hunt you down myself. (also…thanks for everybody in my industry who thought I was the only believable Spartacus. Wish you had that much believe in me when it comes to directing) https://t.co/L2nas3nIaq
— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) January 11, 2018
Other women also laid claim to the spreadsheet to help protect the creator from being doxxed.
None of you can have written the list because I wrote the list!
— Jenny Jaffe (@jennyjaffe) January 10, 2018
“In the weeks after the spreadsheet was exposed, my life changed dramatically,” Donegan wrote. “I lost friends: some who thought I had been overzealous, others who thought I had not been zealous enough. I lost my job, too. The fear of being exposed, and of the harassment that will inevitably follow, has dominated my life since. I’ve learned that protecting women is a position that comes with few protections itself.”