UVA Fraternity's Defamation Suit Against Rolling Stone Allowed to Move Forward

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity of the University of Virginia scored a big win when a Virginia judge allowed their defamation suit against Rolling Stone to move forward despite please from the magazine. The ruling will keep the magazine’s story on a rape that didn’t happen in the spotlight for the time being. Via the Associated Press:


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A Virginia judge has denied Rolling Stone magazine’s attempt to throw out a $25 million lawsuit filed by the fraternity that was the focus on its now debunked article about a gang rape.

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia filed a defamation lawsuit against the magazine last year over the now discredited article “A Rape on Campus.” The story described in chilling detail a student’s account of being raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in September 2012.

Charlottesville Circuit Judge Richard E. Moore said in his decision released Thursday that the statements made about the fraternity in the story could reasonably be considered defamatory.

You may recall Sabrina Rubin-Erdely’s thoroughly debunked story, “A Rape On Campus.” It was the story of “Jackie,” a young woman who completely fabricated a story about being raped by members of a fraternity on the university’s campus. The backlash against the fraternity was fierce, and the school essentially tried to shut them down as a result.


Then, the debunking happen. The story is proven to be made up.

Members of the fraternity were targeted because of Jackie’s claims, Erdely’s story, and the Stone’s lack of fact-checking. This suit being allowed to move forward is a good thing, despite what some groups might say. This suit, after all, doesn’t cause any harm to the movement to end rape on campus. People who make up rape stories, get them published, and try to tear down institutions they don’t like are the ones who harm the movement to end rape on campus.

So, I’m glad the suit gets to move forward. Hopefully, this gets journalists to work harder to check their facts and not publish any trash they find lying around (see: Gawker).



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