This is definitely a victory for commonsense and common decency.
A federal court jury decided Friday that a Rolling Stone journalist defamed a former University of Virginia associate dean in a 2014 magazine article about sexual assault on campus that included a debunked account of a fraternity gang rape.
The 10 member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone journalist was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. administrator who oversaw sexual violence cases at the time of the article’s publication. The jury also found the magazine and its publisher responsible for defaming Eramo.
The $7.5 million lawsuit centered on the 9,000-word article written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely titled “A Rape on Campus.” The article appeared online in late Nov. 2014 and on newsstands in the magazine’s December 2014 issue.
It all started out with a vicious feminazi reporter searching about for a fact case to hang on her carefully constructed skeleton of “toxic masculinity,” misogyny, and institutional indifference. Eventually the reporter was linked up with what can only charitably be called a batsh** crazy young woman at the University of Virginia. She spun a story of fake boyfriend, fake members of an all-too-real fraternity, a brutal gang rape, uncaring friends, and a college administration that just wanted her to go away. Along the way the reporter made up conversations, ignored clear clues that her main source was techically batsh** crazy, and twisted the roles of people from what they were into what made for damned good copy. (Read an overview here and RedState coverage here)
An investigation by The Washington Post showed that aspects of Jackie’s account were not true, including that no one in the fraternity matched the name or description she gave for the person who allegedly was the ringleader of her assault. A person she had described to friends at the time as her assailant was a complete fiction, according to Eramo’s lawyers, and the Post found that a photo she shared of her alleged attacker was actually of someone she knew from high school and who attended a different school out of state.
Several lawsuits have been filed in the case but the first one to go to trial was that of University of Virginia’s associate dean in charge of investigating allegations of sexual assault on campus, Nicole Eramo. Eramo had sought to help the complainant, “Jackie,” but the reporter had portrayed her as a hostile and uncaring person whose main interest was in sweeping the allegation under the rug. Even after the guilty verdict, Rolling Stone is claiming “fake but accurate.”
Rolling Stone statement after losing defamation suit over discredited UVA story: pic.twitter.com/qu1EUo9jxA
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) November 4, 2016
The next phase is the jury considering actual damages. One hopes this becomes a very expensive lesson for Rolling Stone.