Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Rolling Stone Gathers A Lawsuit

Last November, Rolling Stone magazine published an article about a brutal rape on the campus of the University of Virginia.  One fraternity and seven male students in particular were identified, the entire Greek system at UVa was penalized, and a pernicious myth of so-called rape culture on our university campuses was given new life.

As you can see at the link, Rolling Stone has since retracted the story as there was absolutely no corroborating evidence that the attack described took place.  The author, Sabrina Erdely, had actually published similar stories in the past, also without corroboration:
It should be noted here that Erdely had done at least two rape stories prior to “Jackie’s”—one concerning the US Navy and the other a Catholic parish in Philadelphia. No one at Rolling Stone apparently found it curious that Erdely stumbled upon festering rape scandals at the three institutions that together comprise the trifecta of left-wing hate objects—organized religion, the US military, and that bastion of male privilege, fraternities.
The "you raped someone" genie, already out of the bottle, cannot be put back in.  The reputations of the accused men cannot be repaired near as easily as they were trashed, and with the assistance of UVa President Teresa Sullivan to boot!

Is anyone but me seeing shades of the Duke Lacrosse Story here?

The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism conducted an investigation and, according to The New York Times, they weren't kind to Rolling Stone:
Rolling Stone magazine retracted its article about a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity after the release of a report on Sunday that concluded the widely discredited piece was the result of failures at every stage of the process.
The report, published by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and commissioned by Rolling Stone, said the magazine failed to engage in “basic, even routine journalistic practice” to verify details of the ordeal that the magazine’s source, identified only as Jackie, described to the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
One would think that the fraternity brothers would sue Rolling Stone, Sabrina Erdely, and perhaps even Teresa Sullivan, but the first lawsuit against Rolling Stone is by an assistant dean:
Nicole P. Eramo, an associate dean of students at the University of Virginia who handles reports of sexual assault for the school, is suing Rolling Stone magazine over the way she was depicted in a now discredited story.
Eramo has filed suit against Rolling Stone LLC, parent company Wenner Media LLC, and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of the article called "A Rape on Campus," which painted a harrowing picture of a rape and its coverup at U.Va. The complaint was filed in the Charlottesville, Va., circuit court. Eramo is seeking a total of $7.85 million.
In her complaint, Eramo says, "Defendants' purpose in publishing the article was to weave a narrative that depicted the University of Virginia ('UVA') as an institution that is indifferent to rape on campus, and more concerned with protecting its reputation than with assisting victims of sexual assault."
One wonders why Associate Dean Eramo didn't include her own university's president in her lawsuit.

One wonders why any young men would want to apply to such a school in the future.

1 comment:

maxutils said...

A couple of things … first, Rolling Stone DID identify the fraternity, but both the names of the frat members and of the lying fraud/ alleged victim wee not real. Which is important, because if you're going to sue, youhave to prove damages -- and if they didn't name you falsely, there are none. The frat's a different story; as is the college. They can probably show damages -- but, as to the frat I heard a smart, conservative lawyer mske this point: "Yes, they COULD sue … but if they did, the defense team coup depose all their members and ask about underage drink in, and other assaults which may have occurred…so they should probably not do it" Butkudos to the dean for doing something.