Freelance writer Moira Donegan is facing a defamation lawsuit over her role in creating the “S–ty Media Men” list. The anonymous Google spreadsheet went around newsrooms last winter and accused dozens of media men of sometimes graphic incidents of sexual misconduct.
Writer Stephen Elliott — one of those named men on the list — filed a lawsuit against Donegan. In the suit, which was obtained by TheWrap, Elliott says that Donegan and up to 30 anonymous women identified as “Jane Does” caused severe damage to his name by perpetuating false information.
“The List contained false information and unsubstantiated allegations, including untrue statements alleging Plaintiff engaged in criminal sexual conduct, namely rape accusations, sexual harassment, coercion and unsolicited invitations to his apartment,” the suit reads. “The inflammatory false statements published in the List were abusive, vulgar, intentionally misleading as well as damning to the Plaintiff’s reputation and good name. The List was sent to numerous members of the parties’ shared profession, the media industry to intentionally harm Plaintiff’s reputation and further cause harm to Plaintiff’s career.”
Elliott is seeking $1.5 million in damages. Donegan did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.
In January 2018, Donegan revealed in an essay for The Cut that she had started the infamous list. Her decision to come forward came after speculation that her name would be outed in a forthcoming article for Harper’s by Katie Roiphe.
“The anonymous, crowdsourced document was a first attempt at solving what has seemed like an intractable problem: how women can protect ourselves from sexual harassment and assault,” wrote Donegan in her piece.
“I had imagined a document that would assemble the collective, unspoken knowledge of sexual misconduct that was shared by the women in my circles: What I got instead was a much broader reckoning with abuses of power that spanned an industry.”
While the list named many men who have yet to be officially accused of anything, internal investigations launched by several companies including BuzzFeed, the Paris Review and the Atlantic ended up parting with men listed on the document.
A GoFundMe for Donegan had already raised more than $50,000.