‘Rolling Stone’ Defamation Lawsuit Filed By UVA Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity

A University of Virginia fraternity filed a defamation lawsuit on Monday against Rolling Stone magazine, seeking $25 million in damages after they published a discredited article about a 2012 gang rape that supposedly involved three of their fraternity members.

According to Reuters, reported via MSN, the Phi Kappa Psi chapter filed the defamation lawsuit in Charlottesville, Virginia, Circuit Court against Rolling Stone and their writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

In a statement released by the UVA fraternity, they said the 2014, 9,000-word article, titled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” caused them to be “the object of an avalanche of condemnation worldwide.” The story went viral worldwide and caused the frat house to be vandalized. At the time, the university also cancelled all sorority and fraternity activities for the rest of the semester.

“This defamation action alleges that Rolling Stone set out in advance to find a sensational story of graphic and violent rape, searched for such a story at elite universities, and rejected other possible stories because the sexual assaults they portrayed were too ‘normal,'” the Phi Kappa Psi’s complaint reads, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Rolling Stone endorsed and encouraged Erdely’s efforts to troll elite American college campuses in search of a sensational and graphic rape narrative, and rejected potential stories from universities such as Yale that lacked the sensational quality Rolling Stone sought.”

Monday’s lawsuit is just the latest to be filed against Rolling Stone for their retracted story. As the Inquisitr previously reported, a separate lawsuit was filed against the magazine on Wednesday, July 29 in a Manhattan federal court on behalf of George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford, and Ross Fowler/a>, who were all members of the fraternity and 2013 UVA graduates. The three men claim they were “devastated” and “humiliated” over the magazine’s false allegations against them.

UVA’s associate dean of students also filed a $7.8 million defamation suit against Rolling Stone in federal court in Virginia in May, accusing the magazine of portraying her as the “chief villain” of a plan to suppress the sexual assault claims on campus.

The decision by Rolling Stone to retract the article came after the Washington Post shared a lengthy article that pointed to the inconsistencies with the story. Also, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism published a review about the article, calling it a “journalistic failure.”

After pulling the article, Rolling Stone’s managing editor, Will Dana, issued a note to their readers in December 2014, explaining their decision and taking responsibility for publishing the article without speaking to the alleged assaulters.

“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.”

Rolling Stone has declined to comment on the defamation lawsuit.

[Photo via AP Photo/Steve Helber]

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