Extreme right-wing blogger Mike Cernovich says he has gained access to the “shitty men in media” list, which circulated among women in publishing and journalism last week. The vocal anti-feminist activist who was charged with rape in 2003 offered a $10,000 bounty for a copy of the list on October 16. On Saturday night, he promised to publish it “in full,” and has already listed two names, along with the unsubstantiated allegations against those individuals. In a post on his site DangerAndPlay, Cernovich says he wants to “give the men accused of sexual misconduct time to reply” before adding the others — though, he apparently didn’t seem to take the same consideration for the men he outed today. The allegations about one of the individuals on the spreadsheet appeared to be exactly the same as those listed next to another man, suggesting that one entry is a copy of the other. He later tweeted the name of a second man on the list, who had also not commented by early Saturday evening.
Like the creators of the list, who expressly asked women not to share it with men and stated that the allegations be taken with a “grain of salt,” Cernovich also tells readers that he “does not claim these accusations are true,” adding that he is merely “reporting on the existence on [sic] the list and the accusations contained therein” before asking readers to “reserve judgment.” In publishing the names without comment or verification, however, Cernovich is illustrating just how questionable his judgment is. When Buzzfeed News published a piece about the list the morning after it was started, they did not share the names of the people on the list, just that it existed. For this reporting, Buzzfeed’s Doree Shafrir faced vociferous criticism from women on Twitter. Buzzfeed defended their choice to report on the list as a breaking-news story, but for obvious reasons, they felt it was not prudent to name names yet, as the claims made were anonymous and unverified.
So, who is this men’s rights activist and known troll and why has he commandeered a document meant for the protection of women? The New Yorker wrote that Cernovich’s online persona is driven by two mottos: “conflict is attention” and “attention is influence.” Cernovich himself was charged with rape in 2003, though the charge was eventually reduced to “misdemeanor battery” for which he served community service. He’s also a rape apologist. “Have you guys ever tried ‘raping’ a girl without using force?” he tweeted in August 2012. “Try it. It’s basically impossible. Date rape does not exist.”
If there is anything this past year has taught us, it’s that the process of reporting and dealing with accusations of sexual assault is broken. Regardless of the moral questions surrounding the list and those who made it, it’s pretty clear that Mike Cernovich doesn’t come at it from the perspective of serving justice for the victims of sexual harassment. There is a feminist conversation to be had about this list, but that’s not the one that interests him.
We have reached out to the men Cernovich named and will be updating the post as more news breaks.
Update: After threatening to publish the list in full, Cernovich has only released two names as of Sunday morning. He told the Cut “I’m doing my homework and clearing every word through legal.”