20:00 GMT16 April 2021
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    Stephen Elliott, a writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, submitted a motion for new discovery on Wednesday in an effort to force Google to release information tied to the creation and publication of a Google spreadsheet titled "Shitty Media Men."

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, in addition to demanding any emails linked to the creation, editing, publication and circulation of the spreadsheet, Elliott is requesting that Google provide him with all versions of the document and a list of the individuals who accessed it.

    Additionally, Elliott's motion claimed that the First Amendment does not protect the statements made in the document, and that the individuals who contributed "have a limited expectation of privacy in their email account information."

    However, the likelihood of Google giving in to Elliott is slim, especially considering the tech giant previously told the publication that it "will oppose any attempt by Mr. Elliott to obtain information about this document from us."

    Elliott initially filed his lawsuit in October 2018, suing Moira Donegan, the creator of the list, on the grounds of defamation after he was named in the list as someone who is linked to "rape accusations, sexual harassment [and] coercion." He is seeking $1.5 million in damages.

    Created following the high-profile accusations of sexual assault made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in fall 2017, the document listed some 70 men, Elliott among them, who were rumored to range from creepy and unpleasant to dangerous to women. It was initially intended to be privately shared among women before it was widely shared online.

    Donegan has repeatedly stated that the list was created to give women a private outlet through which to share their stories of harassment and be able to "warn others without fear of retaliation."

    "Too often, for someone looking to report an incident or to make habitual behavior stop, all the available options are bad ones," Donegan wrote in an opinion piece in September 2018 for The Cut after she was exposed as the author. "It was intended specifically not to inflict consequences, not to be a weapon — and yet, once it became public, many people immediately saw it as exactly that."

    "Anonymous, it would protect its users from retaliation: No one could be fired, harassed or publicly smeared for telling her story when that story was not attached to her name. Open-sourced, it would theoretically be accessible to women who didn't have the professional or social cachet required for admittance into whisper networks," she explained.

    "I had imagined a document that would assemble the collective, unspoken knowledge of sexual misconduct that was shared by the women in my circles: What I got instead was a much broader reckoning with abuses of power that spanned an industry."

    The "Shitty Media Men" spreadsheet was ultimately taken offline after roughly 12 hours after it was first shared, when Donegan was tipped off to the fact that it had been posted onto Reddit and that BuzzFeed's Doree Shafrir was going to be writing an article on it.

    Months after the list made the rounds, Elliott wrote an essay for the website Quillette, saying that his life has been derailed and that he has "never raped anybody."

    "I would even go one step further: There is no one in the world who believes that I raped them. Whoever added me to Donegan's list, it was not someone with whom I've had sex," he stressed.

    Elliott's suit is the only legal action to have arisen in the aftermath of the list. Five men who were included on the list spoke with The Cut on the condition of anonymity in October 2018 about Elliot's lawsuit.

    "Nobody I've talked to about it had floated the idea of doing anything," one individual said. "Most people accepted that this is a thing that's out there and it will be used against us from time to time. I understood why the list was created. Why people felt it was necessary. I don't know why I'm on there, exactly. But I'm not going to say that I've never crossed a line. I'm not going to feel sorry for myself."

    Another wrote about Elliot: "The suit seems so unlikely to be a winner that the motive seems like it almost HAS to be irrational, like it's not about clearing his name but about making his name dangerous for others. Even if he were completely exonerated, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube."

    "This isn't the way to make amends with anyone right now. He's making himself the center of the story, just like he did with his big essay," another person wrote. "If there's one thing I've learned from this year, it's that no one needs to hear from me on any of this stuff. I can just listen."

    Elliott has argued Donegan is at fault because she repeatedly passed the list around, actively encouraging women to come forward and share their stories on the spreadsheet. He has further supported his argument by stating he's never had sex with individuals working in media and that his past relationships for several years have "been in the context of dominance/submission."


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