‘Rolling Stone’ Magazine Settles Defamation Lawsuit over Fake University of Virginia Rape Story

Rolling Stone magazine has reached a settlement with a former associate dean at the University of Virginia who charged the periodical with defamation over claims made in its disastrous, false college rape story from 2014.

The terms of the settlement with former U-Va administrator Nicole Eramo are undisclosed but was deemed “amicable” by the magazine. The agreement brings an end to the lawsuit that brought turmoil to the school and raised serious questions about journalistic ethics, the Washington Post reports.

“We are delighted that this dispute is now behind us, as it allows Nicole to move on and focus on doing what she does best, which is supporting victims of sexual assault,” the victorious administrator’s lawyer said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed after the 2014 story entitled “A Rape on Campus,” began to unravel. The story claimed to chronicle a history of sexual assaults at a university fraternity house but was later proved to be based on lies.

For months, the story was hailed as a tour de force for social justice and an expose of so-called “rape culture,” but it was not long before the claims of the central witness, named “Jackie,” were discredited. The whole story was a fiction invented by Jackie and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the writer for the Rolling Stone.

In 2015, U-Va’s Nicole Eramo had filed a defamation suit against the music magazine for its failed story. By October 2016, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner officially apologized to Eramo for publishing the false story.

In her suit, Eramo claimed she faced personal threats, lost professional credibility, and lost her capacity to work as an advocate for sexual-assault prevention.

The magazine’s lawyer admitted in court that the explosive revelations proving that its story was based on lies was “the worst thing to ever happen” to the magazine.

Rolling Stone had initially filed a motion to vacate the judgment against it, but before the judge ruled on its motion, the magazine unexpectedly decided to settle.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.


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