Already a member? Log In

The “Shitty Media Men” Lawsuit From Hell

Stephen Elliott
Photo By Michael Macor/Getty Images
Eriq Gardner
April 4, 2022

Five years after journalist Moira Donegan created a Google spreadsheet titled “Shitty Media Men,” wherein women could anonymously list allegations of sexual misconduct by men in the teleco and publishing industries, she’s facing the growing likelihood of having to defend herself at trial. On Thursday, a federal judge in Brooklyn rejected Donegan’s attempt to block a lawsuit brought by Stephen Elliott, the author of The Adderall Babies and About Cherry, who claims that he was defamed from a spreadsheet entry that stated he faced “rape accusations, sexual harassment, [and] coercion.” Elliott is seeking $1.5 million in damages for the alleged emotional distress.

It was not supposed to be this way at all. The spreadsheet, as Donegan once wrote in an essay, was created in Oct. 2017 to empower women to share stories of harassment or an assault without fear of retaliation. Created just weeks after the Harvey Weinstein scandal had exploded, and #MeToo was the hashtag du jour, the “Shitty Media Men” whisper network was intended to be a safe space for long-suffering, muzzled victims of horrific workplace misbehavior. “No one could be fired, harassed, or publicly smeared for telling her story when that story was not attached to her name,” Donegan believed.