Rolling Stone Editor Resigns As Legal Pressure On Botched Rape Story Mounts

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The managing editor of Rolling Stone announced his resignation late Wednesday as a second lawsuit was filed against the magazine in connection with its botched story on an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity.

“After 19 years at Rolling Stone, I have decided that it is time to move on,” managing editor Will Dana said in a statement, as quoted by The New York Times. “It has been a great ride and I loved it even more than I imagined I would. I am as excited to see where the magazine goes next as I was in the summer of 1978 when I bought my first issue.”

When the Times asked whether Dana’s resignation was linked to the botched article, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner said through a spokesman that “many factors go into a decision like this.” Dana’s last day is expected to be Aug. 7, according to the newspaper.

In April, Rolling Stone retracted the article, which was written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely and published in November to much fanfare, after an independent Columbia Journalism School review determined that the magazine failed at every step, from reporting and editing to fact-checking, to address gaps in the alleged rape victim’s story.

A UVA dean who led the school’s sexual misconduct board and appeared in the story, Nicole Eramo, subsequently filed a $7.5 million defamation suit against the magazine. Now three graduates of the university who belonged to Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity where the rape described in the article allegedly took place, are also taking the magazine to court.

George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford and Ross Fowler, who were all Phi Kappa Psi brothers and 2013 graduates of the university, filed their own defamation suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking damages in excess of $75,000.

The suit alleged that certain details in the magazine story allowed family, friends and other reporters to identify Elias as as one of the alleged attackers in the supposed gang rape and then harass him. Fowler and Hadford had similar experiences, the lawsuit alleged.

All three plaintiffs “suffered emotional turmoil, were entirely unable to focus at work and in school following the release of the article, and are still being questioned often about the article’s accusations,” the lawsuit stated.

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Notable Replies

  1. Rolling Stone should have stuck to covering rock music. (Or popular entertainment, at most.)

  2. Avatar for jalus jalus says:

    Rolling Stone Editor Resigns As Legal Pressure On Botched Rape Story Mounts

    This isn’t a botched “rape” story. This was about:

    • lies,
    • false allegations,
    • and the fact that the employees at Rolling Stone Magazine seem to think what basically amounts to a promise not to do this again is all that’s necessary.

    It should be a long time before anyone should take any reporting from Rolling Stone seriously again.

  3. Avatar for dnl dnl says:

    I read ‘somewhere’ that he’s been offered a job at Fox…

    in the creative news departement

  4. Avatar for sandi sandi says:

    Rolling Stone has given us some great journalism, Matt Taibi’s pieces, for example. It is sad that whatever caused this breakdown–hubris? laziness? …??-- will undermine everything and everyone.

  5. The NYT Edtor should do the same.

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