‘Rolling Stone’ Retracts UVA Gang Rape Article, Issues Apology

Rolling Stone has officially retracted a discredited article about an alleged gang rape on the campus of University of Virginia. The magazine issued the retraction and an apology Sunday after a report from the Columbia School of Journalism dubbed the article “a story of journalistic failure.”

According to Mashable, the Columbia School of Journalism report “found that the publication and its editors did not meet basic journalistic expectations such as fact checking details of the story of ‘Jackie’ or adequately attempting to contact key people portrayed in the article.”

Rolling Stone published its official retraction on its website Sunday. In it, Managing Editor Will Dana also issued an apology.

“This report was painful reading, to me personally and to all of us at Rolling Stone. It is also, in its own way, a fascinating document ­— a piece of journalism, as Coll describes it, about a failure of journalism. With its publication, we are officially retracting ‘A Rape on Campus.’ We are also committing ourselves to a series of recommendations about journalistic practices that are spelled out in the report. We would like to apologize to our readers and to all of those who were damaged by our story and the ensuing fallout, including members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and UVA administrators and students.”

As reported by the Inquisitr, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the journalist behind the story of the alleged UVA gang rape, also issued a statement Sunday, her first public statement since November.

The November 2014 article published in Rolling Stone began with the allegations of a UVA student known only as “Jackie,” who claimed she had been gang raped by several members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The story then delved into the issue of sexual assaults on the UVA campus. According to Newsweek, when The Washington Post and other media outlets began to investigate Jackie’s story, many key discrepancies were found with Erdely’s article. After several weeks of these discrepancies being brought forward, Rolling Stone asked the Columbia School of Journalism for an independent review of the article, “A Rape on Campus.”

Newsweek reports that Erdely, nor her editors, have faced censure for “what the report describes as failures to follow basic, even routine journalistic practice.” According to The New York Times, publisher of Rolling Stone, Jann S. Wenner, says this is an “isolated and unusual incident” and that Ms. Erdely will continue to write for the publication. In the interview with The Times, Wenner insisted the problem started with “Jackie,” who he described as a “fabulist storyteller” who manipulated the magazine’s journalism process.

Rolling Stone has removed “A Rape on Campus” from its website.

[Image by Jay Paul/Getty Images]