‘Rolling Stone’ Sued By UVA Frat Members Over False Rape Story

Rolling Stone is being sued by a group of UVA fraternity members after they published a bogus rape story last year.

The lawsuit comes after three frat members at the University of Virginia caught wind of the story, that alleges members of their fraternity gang raped a woman. They not only calls out Rolling Stone, it also names the magazine’s publisher, Wenner Media, and the reporter, Sabrina Erdely, according to CNN Money.

The suit was filed on Wednesday, July 29, in a Manhattan federal court on behalf of George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford and Ross Fowler. T, who were all members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and 2013 graduates, the Huffington Post reports.

The 9,000-word article, titled “A Rape on Campus,” was published by Erdely on Nov. 19, 2014, and described in detail about how a woman, known only as “Jackie” was invited to a party at the frat house in 2012, where she was later lured to a bedroom and repeatedly raped during a three-hour ordeal. The story led to the UVA fraternity being suspended.

Now, the three men are seeking damages for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. They claim they were “devastated” and “humiliated” over the magazine’s false allegations against them.

Following multiple news sites, claiming inaccuracies with the story, Rolling Stone’s managing editor Will Dana issued a note to their readers in December 2014.

“We published the article with the firm belief that it was accurate. Given all of these reports, however, we have come to the conclusion that we were mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account.

“In trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault, we made a judgment – the kind of judgment reporters and editors make every day. We should have not made this agreement with Jackie and we should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story.

“These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie. We apologize to anyone who was affected by the story and we will continue to investigate the events of that evening.”

Erdely, who was not fired from her contributing job for writing the false claims, also issued a statement regarding her story.

“Reporting on rape has unique challenges, but the journalist still has the responsibility to get it right,” she said. “I hope that my mistakes in reporting this story do not silence the voices of victims that need to be heard.”

She called the months following the story the “most painful” of her life, and described them as a “brutal and humbling experience.” Erdely also apologized to “Rolling Stone’s readers, to my Rolling Stone editors and colleagues, to the UVA community, and to any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article.”

While the fraternity itself has yet to file a lawsuit against the magazine, in April they said they had “plans to pursue all available legal action against the magazine.”

Although the magazine has taken responsibility for the false information in the story, and the suspects of the crime were never named, the three men say there were details included that could have easily identified them as perpetrators, and they will always be associated with the article.

What do you think about Rolling Stone being sue by the frat members? Do you think Erdely should have been fired from her position? Leave your comments below.

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