On Wednesday, three former students of University of Virginia and ex-members of the college’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity sued Rolling Stone magazine and the author of an article that falsely claimed that the now-graduates were involved in a gang rape and managed to get away with it.
The three men also sued Wenner Media, the publisher of the magazine. Their attorney said that they were seeking damages for the “vicious and hurtful attacks” that had followed after the publication of the piece in November.
The three plaintiffs who graduated UVA in 2013 argued that the magazine used some circumstantial facts presented in the story to link them to an alleged gang rape that never happened.
According to the author of the story, the room of one of the men at the fraternity was the crime scene of the alleged rape. As a result, friends, family members, acquaintances, and co-workers perceived the man as a rapist and thus some of them humiliated him and launched vicious verbal attacks on various occasions.
Their attorney added that anonymous users posted the real names of her clients in the comment section of the article published on Rolling Stone’s site. That means that the three men would be forever linked with a crime they didn’t commit.
“These claims had a devastating effect on each of the plaintiffs’ reputations,”
the attorney wrote in the court filing.
The plaintiffs are requesting $225,000 for all counts. And currently there are three counts including emotional distress and defamation.
Rolling Stone and its publisher declined any request for comment.
According to the local police, the alleged gang rape lacked any evidence and so did the claims of the alleged victim identified in the piece as “Jackie.” Jackie told a reporter that she was raped by seven male students at the fraternity’s house three years ago.
The magazine must also pay $7.5 million to an associate dean who filed a complaint stating that the fake story depicted her as “the chief villain” in the entire deal. Journalism specialists reported that Rolling Stone failed to comply with every step a trustworthy news outlet need to take to make sure that the story is accurate. And the mistake isn’t the author’s work alone. High-ranking editors who had reviewed the article also failed to comply with their profession’s minimal standards.
“A Rape on Campus” article, however, did not lead immediately to any lay-offs or resignations. But this month, managing editor Will Dana quietly resigned without other job prospects.
Image Source: Huffington Post