"Harper's" was going to out the creator of a private, internal list of predatory men in media — but then she outed herself first
Update: In a “Spartacus” move, it turns out Lexi Alexander is not the author of the Shitty Media Men list. Rather, it belongs to Moira Donegan, who wrote about her experience for The Cut. Original story continues below.
If we’re looking to name a sHERO today, we’ve got a pretty good one. Lexi Alexander has come forward as the creator of the (appropriately titled) “Shitty Media Men” list. Are you ready for the reason she’s come forward? Because Harper’s magazine was getting ready to “out” her as the creator of the anonymous document — intended to be private, and not for dudes to see — but Alexander beat them to it. Let’s take a sec to appreciate this hella brave woman, and all that she’s already done.
Late last year, amid the growing accusations brought against shitty men, a list was created perfectly titled, “Shitty Media Men.” The list, created and sourced anonymously, named a bunch of men out there in the media world who were less than wonderful and, in a word, shitty. It listed their job, what they had allegedly done, and if anything had been done about their actions. The list showed us that the ongoing sexual misconduct crisis is far from over, and even though the list was created with good intentions, it quickly shut down.
Now, months later, this list is in the forefront — and this time for a completely different reason. Thanks to a few whispers on the internet, it became clear that Harper’s was getting ready to run a story about this list, in which it would allegedly reveal Alexander’s identity. But since you can be the hero of your own story, Alexander decided not to wait for the piece to run. Taking to Twitter, she stood tall and proud and claimed the list as her own.
Honestly, legends only.
But this story is about so much more than just Alexander coming forward. As she writes in her tweet, who “destroys a network created by women to protect other women from predators”? Before Alexander came forward, many people on Twitter started rallying to stop the story from running and not only that — someone asked writers to pull future pieces from Harper’s because of their decision to run it in the first place. Writer Nicole Cliff began encouraging others to take their pieces back from Harper’s, and she would pay them for their work instead. (This worked, btw — some writers reportedly pulled their pieces from Harper’s.)
And the backlash surrounding the piece was INTENSE. It was written (and will more than likely still be published in some form) by Katie Roiphe. Though Roiphe claimed she herself didn’t know the identity of the author of the list [narrator: she did], the story would do way more harm than good, and the internet could see that.
It’s weird to say that this story has a happy ending, because there is no happy ending when it comes to sexual harassment in the world. But we’re so proud to see Alexander standing up for for herself, and her work, and not being afraid of this. Now if only we could all be as bold as she is.