Rolling Stone will be sued by Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity falsely accused of gang rape in the now-retracted report by Sabrina Rubin Erderly about rape on the University of Virginia’s campus.
The news broke while Columbia Graduate School of Journalism held a press conference about its independent review of the Rolling Stone article, which it released last night.
“After 130 days of living under a cloud of suspicion as a result of reckless reporting by Rolling Stone magazine, today the Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi announced plans to pursue all available legal action against the magazine,” CNN reported the fraternity said.
“The report by Columbia University’s School of Journalism demonstrates the reckless nature in which Rolling Stone researched and failed to verify facts in its article that erroneously accused Phi Kappa Psi of crimes its members did not commit,” the UVA chapter president Stephen Scipione, said in a press statement. “This type of reporting serves as a sad example of a serious decline of journalistic standards.”
“Clearly our fraternity and its members have been defamed, but more importantly we fear this entire episode may prompt some victims to remain in the shadows, fearful to confront their attackers,” Scipione added. “If Rolling Stone wants to play a real role in addressing this problem, it’s time to get serious.”
The fraternity pointed to the Columbia University J-School investigation as evidence for the failures by Rolling Stone.
“As the national media descended on the school to cover the misguided story, news outlets cast the fraternity house as the iconic symbol of this troubling issue,” the fraternity stated as evidence of the impact of the false claims. “The intense and comprehensive media coverage conveyed these falsehoods to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. To this day, images of the fraternity house continue to be used by news organizations to cover this issue on other campuses, despite the conclusions of the Columbia report and despite findings by the Charlottesville Police Department that there is no substantive basis to support the account alleged in the Rolling Stone article.”
The fraternity also noted that Rolling Stone decided against taking “any action against those involved in reporting the story or address needed changes to its editorial process.”
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See below the full statement from Phi Kappa Psi, via the Washington Post.
Rolling Stone declined to comment to iMediaEthics about the lawsuit.
This story was originally published April 6 at 1:34 PM EST