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Rolling Stone magazine loses $7 million defamation lawsuit over botched UVA gang rape article

Rolling Stone magazine was found liable today in a defamation lawsuit over its 2014 article “A Rape on Campus,” which recounted the story of an alleged gang rape by fraternity members at the University of Virginia. The suit was brought by Nicole Eramo, an administrator at the school who said the magazine recklessly portrayed her as … Continue reading “Rolling Stone magazine loses $7 million defamation lawsuit over botched UVA gang rape article”

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Rolling Stone magazine was found liable today in a defamation lawsuit over its 2014 article “A Rape on Campus,” which recounted the story of an alleged gang rape by fraternity members at the University of Virginia. The suit was brought by Nicole Eramo, an administrator at the school who said the magazine recklessly portrayed her as ruthless and uncaring toward the alleged victim. Eramo is seeking $7 million.

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The article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was also found liable.  A bombshell when it was first published, the article quickly fell apart after portions of the victim’s account could not be corroborated. Rolling Stone eventually retracted the story. 

Defamation lawsuits against the media are notoriously difficult to win. Following the invasion of privacy verdict against Gawker Media earlier this year, today’s decision today is perhaps the latest sign that judges and juries are becoming increasingly unsympathetic toward media outlets.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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