Rolling Stone magazine is still paying a steep price for its shoddy reporting about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. Today Rolling Stone settled a defamation lawsuit brought by the fraternity where the magazine alleged the rape took place for $1.65 million. From the Associated Press:
The Virginia Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, which had sought $25 million, said in a statement that its members are glad to be able to put the “ordeal” behind them.
“It has been nearly three years since we, and the entire University of Virginia community, were shocked by the now infamous article, and we are pleased to be able to close the book on that trying ordeal and its aftermath,” the fraternity said…
“Rolling Stone and Erdely had an agenda, and they were recklessly oblivious to the harm they would cause innocent victims in their ruthless pursuit of that agenda,” the fraternity’s lawsuit said.
This is the second big payout Rolling Stone has made over the story, titled “A Rape on Campus.” Last November a jury found Rolling Stone guilty of defaming Nicole Eramo, a dean at the school who was portrayed as indifferent to the suffering of rape victim “Jackie.” The jury awarded Eramo $3 million in damages but Rolling Stone planned to appeal. A settlement for an undisclosed sum was finally reached in April of this year.
When it was published in 2014, the Rolling Stone story briefly became exhibit A in the progressive push against “rape culture” on college campuses. Eventually, additional reporting, primarily by the Washington Post, revealed that no aspect of the gang rape reported in the Rolling Stone story was true. In fact, the accuser herself had invented the person who allegedly led her to the scene of the rape as a way to get attention from a male friend. Photos she had shown friends of this individual turned out to be social media posts of a former high school classmate, one who did not attend UVA.
This brings Rolling Stone’s legal problems over the story to a close. One other lawsuit brought by three individual members of the fraternity was dismissed last year.