- Alex Wong/Getty Images
- Writer Stephen Elliott filed a defamation suit on Wednesday against the creator of a crowdsourced list that named him among male media figures accused of sexual misconduct.
- Journalist Moira Donegan came forward in January as the author of the “S—-y Media Men” list, an online crowdsourced spreadsheet which contained anonymous allegations against Elliott from harassment to rape.
- Elliott vehemently denied the allegations in a personal essay, but Donegan said after the suit’s filing she stood by the spreadsheet.
Writer Stephen Elliott has filed a defamation suit against the author of a crowdsourced Google spreadsheet that named him alongside dozens of male media professionals accused of varying degrees of sexual misconduct.
Elliott filed a complaint against journalist Moira Donegan in the Eastern District of New York on October 10 seeking $1.5 million in damages for libel and emotional distress, alleging that Donegan “conspired to create” the “S—-y Media Men” list.
The list, which was created and widely circulated last October, includes Elliott’s name beside anonymous allegations including “rape accusations, sexual harassment, coercion, unsolicited invitations to his apartment.”
Donegan came forward as the spreadsheet’s creator in a personal essay for The Cut last January. She said she created the list as “an alternate avenue to report this kind of behavior and warn others without fear of retaliation.”
The list came after the high-profile sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and amid the emergence of the #MeToo movement, which swelled in media circles and resulted in a number of male anchors, journalists, and editors being publicly accused of sexual misconduct.
Elliott’s suit also includes 30 “Jane Does” who anonymously contributed to the list, and whose identities Elliott hopes to discover by subpoenaing Google. Google told The Daily Beast it would oppose Elliott’s requests.
Elliott shared his thoughts about the list in a personal essay published last month and a New York Times opinion article that was published three days after the filing, titled “What do you do when you are anonymously accused of rape?“
After Elliott published the personal essay vehemently denying the allegations and describing how they affected his life, one of his former colleagues, Lyz Lenz, a writer for the Columbia Journalism Review among other publications, tweeted a thread describing his harassment.
When you couldn't find me you refused to come to the magazine party. I was told by your friends to apologise for my mistake. I did. Two days later you grabbed me under the guise of taking money from mug sales out of my back pocket. There is a witness.
— lyzzie borden lenz (@lyzl) September 25, 2018
Lenz said other women had contacted her to share similar accounts.
“Since your name was on the list I have gotten so many emails from women talking about the harassment you put them through,” Lenz wrote. “I’m talking so they don’t have to.”
After Elliott’s filing, Donegan tweeted that though writing the list was the “hardest thing” she had ever written, “I still stand by it.”
I opened the spreadsheet a year ago today, and I wrote this essay, the hardest thing I've ever written, a few months later. I still stand by it. https://t.co/wj8vkvawL4
— Moira Donegan (@MoiraDonegan) October 11, 2018
A GoFundMe that was created soon after the filing to help cover Donegan’s legal fees had reached $92,000 towards its $500,000 goal as of Saturday afternoon.