Rape

UVA Fraternity Brothers Caught Up in False Jackie Story Sue Rolling Stone

Magazine's managing editor resigns.

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UVA
Wikimedia Commons

Rolling Stone was hit with another lawsuit filed by noteworthy victims of its false University of Virginia gang rape story.

George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford, and Ross Fowler—three of the members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the assault on Jackie was alleged to have taken place—claim Rolling Stone defamed them by suggesting they were involved. While none of the them are named in the story, details supplied by author Sabrina Rubin Erdely—such as the name of the fraternity and area of the house in which the attack occurred—made it easy for members of the public to identify them.

As Elias told The Washington Post in January:

In an interview… Elias, who works for a Washington-area construction firm, said that he treasures his years at Phi Psi but that after the Rolling Stone article published, he found himself doubting the people he knew best. As the fraternity was vilified, Elias said, he hesitated to admit to co-workers that he was a member.

"The day it came out was the most emotionally grueling of my life," Elias told The Post, adding that the alleged ritual gang rape hit the hardest. "It assumes that everyone that is part of the frat had to do that, and that hurt a lot of us."

The article was eventually shown to be false. There is no evidence that anything criminal happened at Phi Psi on the night in question, and considerable evidence that Jackie made up her story, invented imaginary assailants, and lied to her friends about what had (and hadn't) happened. This would have been clear to Rolling Stone if either Erdely or her editors had fact-checked the article in accordance with the magazine's internal policies.

Elias, Hadford, and Fowler aren't the only ones going after Rolling Stone; UVA Associate Dean Nicole Eramo has also filed suit.

Perhaps in reaction to the lawsuits, Rolling Stone's long-serving managing editor, Will Dana, announced his resignation from the magazine. According to The New York Times:

Mr. Dana, whose planned last day is Aug. 7, is not leaving for another job, and his successor has not been named. When asked if the departure was linked to the controversy over the discredited article, Rolling Stone's publisher, Jann S. Wenner, said, via a spokeswoman, that "many factors go into a decision like this."

Whether or not the lawsuits are merited, it seems obvious to me that Rolling Stone has not done an adequate job apologizing to the casualties of its reckless journalism and disciplining the responsible parties. (Instead, Wenner has assigned most of the blame to Jackie, which is not entirely fair—it was the magazine's job to vet her story.) If Dana's departure is an attempt at atonement, it is long overdue.

Related: I was an early doubter of Erdely's story, and won a Southern California Journalism Award for my take on the subject.

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  1. “Whether or not the lawsuits are merited, it seems obvious to me that Rolling Stone has not done an adequate job apologizing to the casualties of its reckless journalism and disciplining the responsible parties.”

    Pretty sure ‘adequate’ apologies are going to be preceded by a symbol ($), and if it were me, they’d include some full-page ads in print and long-running banners on some web sites.
    Wenner, you’re a tired old lefty asshole who makes Trudeau look ‘reconstructed’ by comparison; you, personally, should suffer as a result.

    1. Been around on this earth a long time, so it’s no surprise I have received an apology, maybe two. But never any real apologies $$$$

  2. “Wenner has assigned most of the blame to Jackie, which is not entirely fair?it was the magazine’s job to vet her story”

    It’s not fair because “Jackie” doesn’t work for Rolling Stone. The people who promoted her story *do.*

    The more Wenner portrays “Jackie” as a nutty liar, the worse it makes Wenner’s own institution look.

    1. It’s like Wenner literally raped Jackie with his comments;

      Rolling Stone is therefore LITERALLY a rape factory. Even worse than a fraternity!

    2. But Jackie apparently was a nutty liar.

      Maybe my catechism is out of date, but I thought making false accusations against innocent people was worse than repeating things you hear without checking them for veracity.

      1. OK, I’m going to have to ask you where I said anything contradicting what you just said.

        It’s not a contest between “Jackie” and Rolling Stone for who’s the worse liar, it’s a question of whether Rolling Stone can evade its responsibility. As if it’s impossible for more than one person to be to blame.

        But just to make it easier for you, I’ll add this reflection:

        Someone whose job it is to report the truth, who nevertheless repeats the false stories of someone who is either a fantasist or a liar (or both), is on the hook for his/her behavior no matter how nutty the source may be.

        1. “Maybe my catechism is out of date”

          Would you be so kind as to advice me of your religion and race, so that I, too, can throw out irrelevant slurs whenever I disagree with something you say?

          1. What Would Jesus Post?

        2. It would seem that the Magazine had an agenda in search of a story. Which should fly in the face of responsible journalism. So if a magazine portrays itself as legitimate journalism then it needs to act like it and be held accountable. If Not then it needs to delegated to newsstands next to the National Enquirer.

  3. Justice, after all?

  4. How dare these White Privilegistas tort-rape this poor girl!

    1. Someone without a masters in Journalism from Columbia?

      1. That preface kinda makes me want to slap him. He didn’t need to say, “See? I TOLD YOU SO!! And I got an AWARD for it!!”

        My young friend, Robby – just the link, that’s all you needed to do. Learn the art of subtlety, at the least – and the virtue of humility at the best.

        But we’re all happy for you. Keep at it.

        1. Did you read the ‘award’?

        2. Yeah go back and read how they covered those ‘deniers’. Pretty much shows the whole SJW playbook

      2. You know who else has that?

        (No, not Hitler; people who work for Gawker)

        1. You know who else answered their own questions?

          1. Bob Dole?

      3. Zing! (I almost wrote “boom!” but Zing is more appropriate)

    2. The managing editor of Reason has just resigned for not proofreading this article.

  5. Who’s left? NEXT.

    Has Rollning Stone defamed Hulk Hogan? He might want a magazine to go along with his web site.

  6. I was an early doubted

    Oh, FFS Reason, get some fucking editors that review copy before publishing. I worked enough college news, (mercifully deciding against journalism as a career) to understand why editors exist.

    Hell, you could probably crowd source the shit. “Uber for Editors”

    1. Why the the fuck would you take away one of the commetariat’s simplest pleasures in life?

      I bet you’d want to fix John’s typos too.

      You’re the kinda guy who’d fuck his buddy up the ass and not even have the common courtesy to give him a reach-around!

      I’ll be watching you.

    2. It’s a blog.

  7. Shouldn’t there be scare quotes around the word “Journalism” whenever it is used in the same sentence as “Rolling Stone”?

    1. Shouldn’t that question end after the word “Journalism”?

  8. I was an early doubted of Erdely’s story, and won a Southern California Journalism Award

    Careful Soave…this sort of arrogance ruined that sanctimonious dunce over at Jezebel.

    1. sanctimonious dunce over at Jezebel

      That requires more specifics, and ‘sanctimonious dunce’ is like a prerequisite for contributing.

      1. He was talking about vegen one with all the cats who hates men and is real snarky.

        1. This made me laugh.

        2. The one with a bit of a, shall we say, ‘weight problem’?

          1. She’s too skinny?

            1. Anna Merlan? I’d hit it.

  9. Related: I was an early doubted of Erdely’s story, and won a Southern California Journalism Award for my take on the subject.

    Do you drive a Dodge Stratus?

    Cause Anna Merlan does.

    JK Robby we love you and your hair.

    1. seriously Robby, keep up the good work.

  10. I was an early doubte[r] of Erdely’s story

    among Professional Bloggers, i.e. a tall midget.

    The commentariat won again.

  11. It’s not just that Jackie Coakley lied and Rolling Stone did not vet her. It’s that Sabrina Rubin Erdely went looking for certain story, and has a history of writing questionable stories that fit the feminist agenda. Her priest rape story, her rape in the military story, and her gangster princess of Beverly Hills story all have impossible and/or unbelievable aspects.

    And then there’s Emily Renda, the activist who hooked up Coakley with Erdely. Renda has a rape story that’s less outrageous than Coakley’s, but is also questionable: she was supposedly violently rapped and strangled, but didn’t want to get the guy in trouble, and so didn’t go the the authorities. And her story has varied over time. But it’s all good, because she now has a career as an anti-rape advocate or something.

    There’s a whole lot of lying going on here.

    1. And she declined to report on several true stories of rape – because they weren’t dramatic enough, or the rapist was black, or already in jail.

      1. Or didn’t involve fraternities.

      2. Really!? I had not heard that. That’s terrible.

    2. “violently rapped and strangled,”

      That’s a helluva John-o

      1. Where’s Tipper Gore when you need her?

  12. In a perfect world an “example” would be made and these boys marked for life, even if only the backs of minds of the SJWs, as sex offenders would be awarded tens of millions.

    Of course, it is not a perfect world. These boys will have their reps raped for eternity. And there’ll never even be a penny gained for it.

  13. …Rolling Stone has not done an adequate job apologizing to the casualties of its reckless journalism and disciplining the responsible parties.

    No doubt on advice of legal counsel, since everyone knew litigation was coming. The less publicly admitted, the better.

  14. OT: The Iran ‘side deals’ someone ‘may have’ read

    Come to think of it, somewhat on topic. 8-(

    1. Scary shit.

      1. What a lying sack of shit Kerry is!

        1. It’s scary to think about how close that douche got to becoming president.

  15. I wonder when the people who physically attacked the fraternity building will be expelled by the university and charged with crimes by the police?

    1. Stop being a rape apologist, DJF!

  16. Perhaps an indelicate question, but why does Mr. Soave refer to Jackie Coakley without her full name, as if she were a little girl? One might think that he was patronizing her.

    1. Grab it’s motherfucking leg!

    2. Perhaps because she acts like a lying 5 year old?

  17. But what about the Mattress?
    Isn’t it the real victim.
    [really, this is all just one big tapestry of rape and lies – lies and rape – and a mattress]

  18. You should ask Anna Merlan to the gala, Robby.

      1. Since this is the Internet, you couldn’t see me smile as I posted. Rufus’s suggestion is awesome.

    1. That would be so much fucking WIN if he did that. Then he would truly earn the name “Suave”.

  19. Grab its motherfucking leg!

  20. By the way, at one point Erdely posted an apology (or noted the withdrawal of the article if you think the term apology isn’t warranted). It has since been removed, or possibly isolated by removing any link to it from any other page on her website.

    1. Would that make her a rape apologist?

      1. Can I get a Swiss narrows gaze over here?

      2. A fake-rape apologist, or a fake rape-apologist?

  21. Related: I was an early doubted of Erdely’s story, and won a Southern California Journalism Award for my take on the subject.

    I like how the link is to the Jezebel story calling Mr. Suave and “idiot” for daring to doubt the veracity of Jackie’s audacious claims. Keep throwing it in their smug faces.

    1. Reading all 720 comments is joyful. The ones from April 2015 are the best.

      1. Oddly enough I can’t see any comments after December 2014. It’s more likely the crappy Gawker commenting design than anything nefarious.

        It’s quite annoying, though.

      2. Well give me a link. Don’t make me prod through the bowels of Jezebel, which I just did. I feel dirty.

    2. I think Soave is entitled to rub it in Merlan’s face for as long as they both shall live.

  22. Same question. How come no one has sued Jackie? How come she hasn’t event been widely outed?

    Leave open the wisdom of policy of anonyminity of rape accusers. Makes no sense for obviously false accusers.

  23. Robby, I hate you for that link drop to Jezebel.

    Everyone at Jezebel, “If you think Jackie is lying you love rape”.

  24. “The day it came out was the most emotionally grueling of my life,” Elias told The Post, adding that the alleged ritual gang rape hit the hardest. “It assumes that everyone that is part of the frat had to do that, and that hurt a lot of us.”

    Sow hat if it hurt you, white male? You talk about your hurt from a place of privilege!

  25. Maybe now Rolling Stone will learn to stick to reporting about shitty bands and leave investigative reporting to people that actually know something about how to vet a story BEFORE publishing

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