Identity

Women Rally Behind Moira Donegan After 'Shitty Media Men' Lawsuit

After Stephen Elliott filed a $1.5 million suit against Moira Donegan, the list's creator, women donated tens of thousands of dollars to a legal defense fund for her.
GoFundMe

Women are rallying behind Moira Donegan, the creator of the "Shitty Media Men" list, following news Thursday evening that Stephen Elliott has leveled a suit against Donegan, seeking $1.5 million in damages.

Within hours, Lauren Hough, a Texas-based writer, launched a GoFundMe to raise money for a legal defense fund for Donegan, writing that she wanted to show Donegan that she had an "army" of supporters backing her.

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"Moira Donegan did us all a huge favor," Hough wrote. "She made our world safer, and has paid more than her share. Now she’s going to need some help … I needed to do something. This is what I could do. I know a lot of you feel the same. More than anything, I want Moira to see the army she has behind her. "

As of around 11:30 Friday morning, Hough had raised more than $50,000 for Donegan, many of the donors being women who left words of gratitude and solidarity along with their contributions.

Donegan received an outpouring of support from women in literary and media circles across the internet, with feminist writers like Roxane Gay, Jessica Valenti, and Andi Zeisler speaking out to condemn Elliott and stand by Donegan.

"Moira Donegan [created] an anonymous list that codified whisper networks that have long existed," Gay wrote on Twitter. "There wasn’t a man on that list that women hadn’t already been warning each other about.

"It is mighty bold for Elliott to lodge this suit as if the stories that have long been whispered about him won’t come out in discovery," she continued. "It’s staggering, really … That’s a hell of a legacy for an already mediocre man."

Valenti tweeted: "As it turns out, the Shitty Media Men list was very effective in pointing out shitty media men."

And Zeisler drew attention to Elliott's defense against the allegations, which emphasizes his sexuality as a reason why he couldn't have committed the crimes attributed to him on the Shitty Media Men list.

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"Lord give me the confidence of a mediocre white literary man who believes that 'I couldn't possibly sexually harass anyone, I'm only into BDSM!' is a genius rebuttal," she wrote Thursday, tweeting out a screenshot of Elliott's legal complaint.

Donegan hasn't yet publicly responded to the suit, which accuses her and the other anonymous women who contributed to the list of publishing "defamatory" allegations against Elliott that sullied his "reputation and good name."

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But mere hours before news of the suit broke, Donegan marked the first anniversary of the list by tweeting out an essay she wrote for The Cut in January revealing herself as its creator.

"I opened the spreadsheet a year ago today, and I wrote this essay, the hardest thing I've ever written, a few months later," Donegan wrote in the tweet. "I still stand by it."