Rolling Stone compensates

Magazine pays $3 million following rape story trial

UVA's Phi Kappa Psi house, where the alleged rape occurred.


UVA's Phi Kappa Psi house, where the alleged rape occurred.

Binqi Chen, Editorials Editor

It has been exactly two years since the story of the still unknown “Jackie” shocked the entire nation and ignited new debate about sexual assault and rape on college campuses. It has also been over a year since Jackie’s story has been largely discredited and retracted.

Millions have read the infamous 9,000 word “A Rape on Campus” story published by Rolling Stone in November 2014.

In the article, a student named Jackie said that she was gang raped by seven men at the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house as part of a hazing ritual for pledged members. She allegedly met and went on a date with a fellow student named “Drew” before he took her to the fraternity house and raped her.

People were disgusted by the assault and the lack of action taken by UVA. On campus, all Greek activity was stopped. Within a month of publication, the discrepancies began to unravel. 

There was no party at the Phi Kappa Psi house during the weekend in question, Jackie’s friends were not contacted for their accounts and that it was a possibility that Drew never existed.

Rolling stone retracted the article after Columbia University released an analysis of the the errors with the reporting and writing of the story. 

Other victims of sexual assault and rape will now be hesitant to come forward with their own accounts of incidents.

More than 11.2 percent of all college students have been raped or sexually assaulted. In the United States, one of out every six women has experienced an attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime. That is incredibly scary. 

Nicole Eramo, UVA’s former dean that worked with sexual assuault cases, sued Rolling Stone for $7.5 million (only compensated for $3 million). The jury has decided that the magazine did indeed intend malice in their protrayal of Eramo in their article. 

The jury was right in deciding against Rolling Stone. The article made Eramo seem as if she did not care for the victims of sexual assualt and that she did not help Jackie at all. 

Jackie herself has even written a letter to Eramo the day following the publication of the article to thank Eramo for her support through her recovery. 

The fraternity has sued against Rolling Stone for $25 million. Phi Kappa Psi suffered damage from the article. The fraternity’s members and their family were in danger and stressed. The entire existence of the 150 year chapter was in jeopardy.

The house was vandalized and many alumni of the fraternity removed affliation with Phi Kappa Psi from their resumes. 

Even to this day, many people who have not been keeping up with the case will continue to judge the fraternity. 

Phi Kappa Psi had a strong and validate argument for their case. The fraternity’s other chapters were all affected negatively by the article. 

The article caused the group permanent damage and the least Rolling Stone can do is provide compensation. 

Rolling Stone is a highly successful publication, making over $100 million in 2013 solely on advertisement revenue. 

By compensating, Rolling Stone will be saving its repution and also promote accurate journalism. This case is set to be trialed next year.

The effects of inaccurate reporting can be detrimental. Too many times are victims blamed, harassed and ignored for simply telling their story. We must all stand together to prevent sexual assault, on and off the campus.