In just 24 hours, there has been a perfect Twitter storm over the idea that an upcoming story in the March issue of Harper’s Magazine was going to reveal the name of the woman who created the “S–tty Men in Media List,” a crowdsourced Google spreadsheet, that anonymously made the rounds in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein stories last October.
“It’s come to my attention that a legacy print magazine is planning to publish a piece “’outing’ the woman who started the ‘Sh–ty Media Men’ list. All I can say is: don’t. The risk of doxxing is high. It’s not the right thing to do,” N+1 editor in chief Dayna Tortorici tweeted Tuesday afternoon, setting off a social media tsunami.
Tortorci declined to name the publication, but subsequent tweets revealed the legacy publication in question was Harper’s Magazine, and the magazine confirmed that a March cover story was in the works by Katie Roiphe, best known for her 1993 book “The Morning After: Fear, Sex and Feminism.”
“There is a piece by Katie Roiphe in the March issue,” said Harper’s vice president of public relations Giulia Melucci. “That is all we will say.”
A frenzy ensued as prominent writers began tweeting at and calling Harper’s, urging it not to publish the name of the woman who started the list, which could open her up to very real dangers. The list allowed contributors to anonymously name the misconduct of men in media. Although the list eagerly circulated among the media industry and was written about it, the actual names on it were never made public — although several men named on the list did lose their jobs over the past months.
Nicole Cliffe, former editor of the cult favorite web site The Toast, offered to reimburse any Harper’s writers who wanted to pull their pieces from the publication in protest.
“If you have a piece in the hopper over at @Harpers, ask your editor if the Roiphe piece is happening. If it is, I will pay you cash for what you’d lose by yanking it,” Cliffe wrote on Twitter.
She later tweeted that she had “a nice little stable of great ex-Harper’s pieces — some reported, some not — that could use new homes,” and invited editors from other publications to get in touch. In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Cliffe confirmed she had already paid the writers. (Melucci said that, as far as she knew, nobody had pulled their stories.)
On Wednesday, Harper’s did say more: “Katie Roiphe is not outing anyone and looks forward to talking about what is actually in the piece when it comes out next month.”
The magazine wouldn’t say whether the piece had been changed as a result of the attention — only that “it was and is a galley in the process of being edited and reported and subject to all sorts of changes.”
The magazine hits newsstands in February.
“It’s disconcerting that there is such a panic going on over a piece nobody has even read yet,” Melucci told WWD, before confirming later in the day that the piece would not name the creator of the list.