The University of Virginia chapter of Phi Kappa Psi filed a $25 million lawsuit on Monday against Rolling Stone magazine.
The lawsuit stems from the now discredited “A Rape on Campus” article published in 2014, which recounted the chilling gang rape of a freshman named Jackie in the UVA Phi Psi house. Written by 1994 College graduate and former managing editor of 34th Street Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the story incited national outrage over the graphic assault and UVA’s response. The alleged rape sparked demonstrations at the school, and the Phi Kappa Psi house was vandalized. Shortly after, the University president suspended campus sororities and fraternities.
But within a matter of days, the accuracy of the story began to unravel. The fraternity had not hosted a party that night in 2012, and the identified rapist was not a student at UVA. After two investigations by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Charlottesville Police Department, it was confirmed that there had been no gang rape. The article was retracted on April 6, 2015, and Rolling Stone’s managing editor Will Dana resigned.
“This defamation action is brought to seek redress for the wanton destruction caused to Phi Kappa Psi by Rolling Stone’s intentional, reckless, and unethical behavior,” the complaint filed by Phi Psi read.
The lawsuit argues that Rolling Stone and Erdely wanted to depict a narrative of college campus sexual violence by detailing a rape, whether it was true or not.
“The fraternity chapter and its student and alumni members suffered extreme damage to their reputations in the aftermath of the article’s publication and continue to suffer despite the ultimate unraveling of the story,” the Phi Psi chapter said in a statement Monday.
Rolling Stone has not yet commented on the recent lawsuit.
The magazine also faces similar legal action from two other groups in relation to the story. Three former members of Phi Psi filed a federal lawsuit this past July against Rolling Stone for defamation. UVA’s Associate Dean Nicole Eramo also filed a $7.5 million lawsuit, alleging that she is vilified in the article.
“Innocent brothers were besieged in their residence, physically threatened, protested against and vilified by unknown assailants, fellow students and the university community,” the suit states. “Impacts of the article were felt well beyond the University of Virginia and Charlottesville.”Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.