UVA Frat Sues Rolling Stone for $25M

The UVA campus (Photo: Getty Images)

The UVA campus (photo: Getty Images)

The fallout continues for Rolling Stone.

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the magazine, almost exactly a year after Rolling Stone published a since-discredited story alleging that members of the fraternity gang raped a freshman known as Jackie during a party at the house as part of a pledge initiation ritual.

When it was published last November, “A Rape on Campus” by journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely was initially met with horror for its depiction of campus rape culture and the institutional mishandling of the case. But within weeks, many aspects of the story began to unravel and, eventually, the magazine retracted the piece. In April, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism released an independent report detailing the journalistic missteps that led to its publication. In July, longtime managing editor Will Dana announced he was leaving the magazine.

The fraternity is suing on the grounds of defamation, both for the original story, and for the way that the magazine handled the aftermath once it began to unravel. The lawsuit cites angry comments against Phi Kappa Psi posted on social media as evidence of the damage the story did to the fraternity’s reputation.