The University of Virginia gang rape saga continues.
Three UVA graduates who say they were harmed by Rolling Stone magazine's bogus story of gang rape at a frat house on the venerable campus are suing the magazine and the author of the article. The suit was filed yesterday in District Court in New York.
Meanwhile, also yesterday, Rolling Stone's managing editor, Will Dana, a nineteen year veteran of the magazine, announced that he is leaving his job. The Associated Press reports:
When asked whether Dana's departure was linked to the retracted story, a spokeswoman for the magazine's publisher, Jann Wenner, said that "many factors go into a decision like this," according to the report.
No one has been fired by Rolling Stone for the story that unraveled quickly and was a case study for how biases can blind a reporter.
Author Sabrina Rubin Erdely, whom the magazine retained for free lance contributions, set out to find a rape story that would illustrate the supposed "rape culture" on campus. She thought she had found the perfect example: a gang rape by fraternity men at a famous southern university. Even the liberal Columbia Journalism Review, which conducted an investigation of how the story came to be, couldn't defend Erdely' and the magazine's failure to do rudimnentary reporting.
The Rolling Story did not use the plaintiff's names, but they say that the details in the story made it easy to identify them. The dorm room of George Elias IV, one of the plaintiffs, was the scene of the alleged gang rape, according to Reuters.
The AP reports:
In the lawsuit, the three 2013 graduates said the article "created a simple and direct way to match the alleged attackers" from the alleged gang rape to them based on details provided in the story.
For instance, [plaintiff George] Elias' room at the fraternity house was "the mostly likely scene of the alleged crime" based on the details in the Rolling Stone article.
"Upon release of the article, family friends, acquaintances, co-workers and reporters easily matched (Elias) as one of the alleged attackers and, among other things, interrogated him, humiliated him, and scolded him," the lawsuit said, adding that Hadford and Fowler "suffered similar attacks."
In the lawsuit, their lawyer said each of their identities was listed online by anonymous users when the article first came out and each of their "names will forever be associated with the alleged gang rape."
"These claims had a devastating effect on each of the plaintiffs' reputations," their lawyer, Alan L. Frank, wrote in Wednesday's filing.
The men are suing on three counts, including defamation and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and are asking for at least $75,000 for each count.
The Washington Post, which did a terrific job of debunking on the original story, has the lawsuit.