Rolling Stone has reportedly reached a settlement agreement with a former University of Virginia associate dean in regards to a lawsuit she filed claiming the magazine had defamed her with a false gang rape story.
According to the suit, as cited by The Washington Post (paywall), Rolling Stone’s story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia “wrongly turned Eramo [a sexual assault prevention advocate] into the face of institutional indifference.”
The story itself turned out to be completely false; the ‘rape victim’ – the infamous ‘Jackie’ – turned out to have fabricated the whole thing.
According to The Guardian, Eramo’s attorneys claim Rolling Stone’s reporter “came into the story with a preconceived storyline about institutional indifference to sexual assault and intentionally disregarded statements and facts about Eramo that didn’t fit that narrative.”
A jury subsequently found that the Rolling Stone’s reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, acted with actual malice on six accounts – two times in the article and four times while speaking to media outlets about the story.
Another Washington Post article states that Eramo was subsequently awarded $3 million in damages – $2 million from Erdely and $1 million from Rolling Stone itself.
Rolling Stone attempted to vacate that judgment but reportedly agreed to settle before a judge could rule on the motion.
The details of that settlement are confidential.
“We are delighted that this dispute is now behind us, as it allows Nicole [Eramo] to move on and focus on doing what she does best, which is supporting victims of sexual assault,” said a lawyer for Eramo.
Rolling Stone describes the statement as an “amicable resolution” to the dispute.
Jim Treacher writing for The Daily Caller has poked fun at the magazine’s description of the settlement.
“Amicable,” he writes. “‘Sorry we published a huge lie about a terrible crime that never happened, and falsely implicated you in it. Here’s a bunch of money.’ That does indeed sound amicable.”
“A lot of people in a lot of newsrooms really wanted to believe this hoax,” Treacher continues. “They got very angry at anybody who questioned [Jackie’s] account of events. They believe rape is such a horrible crime that it doesn’t matter whether or not it actually happened.”
“Facts only get in the way of their anger.”
Christina Hoff Sommers expressed a similar sentiment in a video from 2014 questioning why the Rolling Stone story went viral without question.