Three friends of Jackie, the subject of the disputed Rolling Stone
article on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, are now
contesting critical details of the account told in the magazine.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday on the continued unraveling of the blockbuster article, drawing from the accounts of the three friends who met Jackie near the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house after she was allegedly gang-raped by seven men. Rolling Stone identified them by the aliases Randall, Andy, and Cindy.
In their interviews with the Post, Jackie’s friends identified key inconsistencies between the story related in the magazine and what Jackie told them the night of Sept. 28, 2012. The most egregious among them was that the name of the man Jackie said brought her to the party where she was allegedly raped did not match anyone at UVA.
UVA officials confirmed to the Post that no one by the name Jackie gave her friends attended the school. The Post also obtained photos of the man Jackie said was her date that night from Randall, and determined the person pictured does not match the name Jackie gave and is a former high school classmate of Jackie’s who told the newspaper that he “never really spoke to her.”
The single criticism that the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, made no mention of attempting to contact Jackie’s date, identified by the pseudonym “Drew,” in her article was what led to the implosion of the original piece.
Sean Woods, the editor in charge of Erdely’s story, confirmed to the Washington Post in an interview (conducted before the newspaper published its own re-reporting that highlighted inconsistencies in the Rolling Stone story) that Erdely did not talk to Jackie’s alleged assailants. He said they instead “verified their existence” by talking to Jackie’s friends.
But that is also at odds with what Jackie’s friends are saying now.
Erdely wrote that Randall declined to be interviewed, “citing loyalty to his own frat.” Randall told the Post that he would have agreed to an interview, but Rolling Stone never contacted him.
Andy and Cindy also told the Post that neither Erdely nor any editors at Rolling Stone made an effort to contact them. Erdely did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.
Randall maintains that he and the others did everything they could to help Jackie that night, despite how Rolling Stone portrayed them as more concerned with the group’s social status if Jackie had reported the alleged assault than with their friend’s well-being.
“She had very clearly just experienced a horrific trauma,” Randall told the Post. “I had never seen anybody acting like she was on that night before and I really hope I never have to again. … If she was acting on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, then she deserves an Oscar.”