Here, “Sean” is Sean Woods, whom the Columbia report identifies as the principal editor behind “A Rape on Campus.” He presided over the awful decision not to seek out Jackie’s alleged assaulters nor the three friends who could have debunked the central, false allegations of the story.
Think about what Wenner is saying here, however: The story’s author was so corrupt as to steamroll her editor with bogus reporting, and the editor was too weak to resist. And yet Woods is keeping his job; Erdely will continue writing for the magazine as well.
Deep in the Columbia report, there’s some detail about how Erdely and Woods interacted as they pursued Jackie’s story. The two have differing memories of how they approached confirmation of the events of Sept. 28, 2012, the night that Jackie was allegedly gang-raped. After the trauma, Jackie told Erdely, she encountered three friends who essentially steered her from contacting the police. Yet Erdely never interviewed those friends, who are identified in the story via pseudonyms. In a statement to Columbia, Erdely professed that she wished someone would have “pushed me harder” to interview them. Woods counters that he did press this particular case. “I did repeatedly ask, ‘Can we reach these people? Can we?’ And I was told no.” Woods eventually dropped the matter because “I felt we had enough,” says the report.