Rolling Stone published an article in 2014 about a brutal gang rape of a University of Virginia student at the school’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. This article has since been discredited, and the magazine has settled with the frat for $1.65 million.


The article was officially retracted in 2015 after the student, “Jackie”‘s claims were called into question. “The Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity has agreed to settle and dismiss its defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Sabrina Erdely arising from the magazine’s publication of the November, 2014 article ‘A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,'” the frat said in a statement.

Their statement also promised a “significant portion” of the settlement be donated to various organizations preventing sexual assault and help victims.

The initial 9,000 word article became a cornerstone of college campus rape stories across the country, until some of the storylines failed to line up. The magazine apologized to its readers, and the reporter, Erdely, was forced into hiding once she began receiving threats. Eventually an investigation was done by the Columbia Journalism Review to determine what exactly went wrong.

In 2014, the magazine distanced itself from the story with a statement and apology. “We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account,” Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana said. “We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story,”

Rolling Stone settled another related lawsuit earlier this year with a former UVA dean, Nicole Eramo, who claimed she was defamed by the story. The magazine released a statement at the time, saying admitting to “journalistic mistakes that we are committed to never making again.”

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