Three former members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia filed a lawsuit against Rolling Stone on Wednesday for defamation and infliction of emotional distress, saying the magazine’s discredited article on a campus gang rape had a “devastating effect” on their reputations.
The article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely and published last fall, set off a national discussion with its vivid account of a student’s assault, but it was retracted in April after it fell apart under scrutiny by journalists and law enforcement officials. A report by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism uncovered an assortment of journalistic lapses, including a lack of skepticism and a failure to interview those accused of the assault.
The lawsuit also names Ms. Erdely and Rolling Stone’s publisher, Wenner Media, as defendants.
Friends, family members and acquaintances were able to identify George Elias IV as one of the accused attackers based on details in the article, including the location of a bedroom that was described as the setting of the assault, the lawsuit said. They “interrogated him, humiliated him, and scolded him,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in United States District Court in New York.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Daniel Victor