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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Dec 1st, 2016

THE SEX FILES: Rolling Stone Raped It Readers

a-rape-on-campusLook, the very last thing I want to do is throw stones at another journalist (and really, would I ever call myself a journalist?). Indeed there was a time I read Rolling Stone Magazine religiously for rock and roll news (though among my friends and I the common edict was, if Rolling Stone gives an album a low rating, go out and buy it, our tastes ran so counter to the mag). But what Jan Wenner and company perpetrated recently, and just got sued over, is a blight on their reputation and adds to the conundrum for women of sexual abuse.

Back in 2014, writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely published her story “A Rape On Campus” article. In that article, a University of Virginia woman, named “Jackie” to protect her privacy, claimed she was raped by multiple members of the on-campus frat Phi Kappa Psi. Rapes on college campuses, the UVA among them, have been reported and proven to have happened for years, a sad state of student life no one is disputing the validity of. But soon it became clear that Jackie’s claims were suspect; Rolling Stone was investigated by other journals questioning the facts of Erdely’s reporting and local police found many inconsistencies in Jackie’s account.

R.S. retracted the article, their co-founder and publisher Jann Wenner released statements of regret but were most recently brought up on suit charges from the UVA’s former associate dean of students, Nicole P. Eramo. She claimed that Erdely’s article depicted her specifically as the “chief villain” in the whole affair.

Eramo just won her suit last month.

Not that Jann Wenner or Rolling Stone should be held accountable for the top of journalism excellence these days. Gone are those wild times of gonzo investigative pieces by the likes of Hunter S. Thompson or any kind of fair and biased political reporting in a magazine that now rivals The New York Times in its obvious ideological grandstanding. The digest-sized mag lost most of its rock street cred in the past decade, as well over Jann Wenner’s (chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall Foundation) out of-touch overseeing of yearly Hall Of Fame inductions. But when they do not get their facts right about a subject as important as a possible student rape on an American college campus, more than just journalistic integrity gets called out.

It’s hard enough for women who are raped to come forward and report their attack, as it is for men and women to regard each other with anything other than trepidation when walking to brick arcades of school campuses, or hanging in dorm room suites. One wonders then, what exactly was “Jackie” after concocting this story?

In a recent ABC news coverage of the whole sordid affair, it came out that Jackie was consistently attempting to get the romantic notice of a fellow student of hers, Ryan Duffin. She invented other men who supposedly had interest in her in the hopes of making Duffin jealous and it seems fabricated the entire rape story (Duffin and other friends of Jackie’s actually came to her aid right after her supposed rape) to get more attention.

As recently as October of this year, in a video deposition Jakie claimed: “I stand by the account I gave Rolling Stone. I believed it to be true at the time.”

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THE SEX FILES: Rolling Stone Raped It Readers