The University of Virginia fraternity singled out in a retracted Rolling Stone gang rape story is hitting back at the publication. The frat filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against RS Monday (Nov. 9).
Reports NBC News:
“The reputation that Phi Kappa Psi and its alumni spend decades building was destroyed overnight,” the lawsuit said. “The formerly respected fraternity is now known colloquially in the University of Virginia community as ‘the rape frat.'”
Even after doubts about the story surfaced, the lawsuit said, the magazine and the reporter who wrote the story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, reacted by “doubling down on its original article, standing by its story, engaging in deception and cover-up,” and lying about sources for the article.
Published in November 2014, the article claimed that a UVA freshman identified as “Jackie” was given alcoholic punch, led to a dark bedroom at the fraternity, pushed into a glass table that shattered, then raped by seven fraternity members as she lay on glass shards.
After police in Charlottesville failed to find any evidence of the attack — and following a scathing critique of the magazine by the Columbia School of Journalism — the magazine formally retracted the story in April 2015 and issued a public apology.
When the story was published, the lawsuit said, outraged members of the community threw rocks and bottles at the fraternity house and vandalized cars outside. Many fraternity members “reasonably feared for their safety,” and some moved to hotel rooms.
According to CBS News, three frat members are suing for at least $250,000 each, and an associate dean who claims she was depicted as “chief villan” in the RS story, is suing for $7.5 million.
Rolling Stone has no comment on the lawsuit.