Rolling Stone Officially Retracts Gang Rape Story

Associated Press
The Phi Kappa Psi house at UVA

The author of the story and two editors involved with it will keep their jobs, according to Jann Wenner.

Amid swirling controversy, Rolling Stone has officially retracted its story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia.

The announcement follows a report issued Sunday by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and commissioned by Rolling Stone. It found that the publication failed to conduct "basic, even routine journalistic practice" in confirming the account that source Jackie gave to contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely for the story "A Rape on Campus."

"The failure encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking," the report stated. "The magazine set aside or rationalized as unnecessary essential practices of reporting that, if pursued, would likely have led the magazine's editors to reconsider publishing Jackie's narrative so prominently, if at all."

In an interview about the findings, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner said that Erdely, along with managing editor Will Dana and Sean Woods, the editor of the article, will continue to work for the magazine. 

Wenner described Jackie, who claimed to have been raped by seven men at a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity party in September 2012, as a "really expert fabulist storyteller," according to The New York Times. He added that he didn't want to blame Jackie but that "obviously, there is something here that is untruthful, and something sits at her doorstep."

Wenner said that Erdely "was willing to go too far in her effort to try and protect a victim of apparently a horrible crime. She dropped her journalistic training, scruples and rules and convinced Sean to do the same. There is this series of falling dominoes."

In a statement, Erdely offered her "deepest apologies" to readers, colleagues, the campus community and victims of sexual assault, the Times reports. "Reporting on rape has unique challenges, but the journalist still has the responsibility to get it right," she wrote. "I hope that my mistakes in reporting this story do not silence the voices of victims that need to be heard."

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@THR.com
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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