Reason Roundup

Writer Stephen Elliott Sues Over 'Shitty Media Men' Spreadsheet: Reason Roundup

Plus: libertarian accounts purged from Facebook?


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Google spreadsheet "whisper network" spawns lawsuit. Author and editor Stephen Elliott, founder of The Rumpus, is suing over his inclusion on a Google spreadsheet that started circulating around this time last year. Dubbed the "shitty media men" list, it was created by a woman named Moira Donegan, who urged female friends and fellow writers to anonymously out male journalists, pundits, and literary types who were known to take sexual liberties. The list wound up with allegations against more than 70 named men, ranging from making unappreciated advances on women colleagues to serial sexual assault and rape.

Elliot was anonymously accused of conduct from rape to "unsolicited invitations to his apartment." In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court, Elliott is seeking at least $1.5 million in damages.

In the suit, Elliott asks for details—names, addresses, etc.—on those who contributed to the list, which had straddled the line between public and private. Anyone who had a link could see it and contribute, and even after Donegan took it down, screenshots and PDFs of the page persisted.

Donegan took down the document not long after Buzzfeed published an article about it. She said she hadn't been trying to publicize the names of alleged shitty men, simply to create a digital "whisper network" that allowed women in media to warn one another—more like an email forward of yore than a Facebook post.

But according to Elliott (and some of the other men named on the list), this still had the power to have "derailed" his life. His lawsuit said he will subpoena Google for metadata that can help him figure out who specifically made the allegations against him.

Some of the other men whose names were on the list questioned his strategy. "If the problem was that his reputation was affected, this is going to make it infinitely worse," one told The Cut. "And that would be true for me if I were to join him, if I were to make myself part of the public face of this thing. Like, what would I do that for? Money? I've tried to clear my name individually, but I would never join a lawsuit. That just wouldn't help."


Facebook purges political "spam." More than 800 pages and accounts were booted by Facebook yesterday. The company said it's because these accounts and pages were spreading spam. Some trafficked in ads appearing to link to political news that actually went to marketing content. Others used different accounts to push the same political posts, memes, and news out more widely, in violation of Facebook policies.

"Unlike previous sweeps of pages in recent years, which have included hundreds of pages and accounts from Russian and Iranian actors attempting to muddle the United States' political conversation, the pages and accounts removed on Thursday all originated domestically," notes Slate.

Some of the accounts that were removed include such libertarian favorites as Cop Block, the Free Thought Project, and Police the Police.


Big Tech embraces big regulation.

Tech companies are asking the U.S. government to enact European Union–style privacy rules, now that the big companies have already had to comply to keep regulators across the pond happy. Click through the whole Twitter thread above from Niskanen Center tech-policy analyst Alec Stapp for more on just how bad the effects of these draconian "privacy" and "consumer protection" policies have already been in the E.U.


  • A new report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. weapons systems are incredibly easy to hack: "Using relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of systems and largely operate undetected, due in part to basic issues such as poor password management and unencrypted communications."
  • Are 68,000 people a day "trafficked right in front of our eyes?" Nope, says The Washington Post, in a column debunking the bogus Airline Ambassadors International claim.
  • Michelle Obama calls George W. Bush her "partner in crime." Read that how you will.
  • President Trump just signed into law a major overhaul of streaming music licensing.
  • Uber is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to let it start giving company stock to drivers.
  • A $15 minimum wage "may be enough to buy a small home in some parts of the U.S.," writes Erica Pandey at Axios. "But what's apparent on the map above is that it is barely sufficient for a studio apartment in the big cities, and it could upset workers already earning $15 and more."
  • Washington state has abolished the death penalty, becoming the 20th U.S. state to outlaw it.