Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner apologized in a recorded testimony to the former University of Virginia dean who is suing the magazine for defamation but said he disagreed with the decision to retract the campus rape story, it was revealed at the defamation hearing Friday.
“I’m very, very sorry. It was never meant to ever happen this way to you,” Wenner told Nicole Eramo in taped testimony played at the trial.
“And believe me, I’ve suffered as much as you have,” he said. “And I know what it’s like. I hope that this whole thing hadn’t happened but it is, and it’s what we live with.”
Eramo sued the magazine for $7.85 million because the November 2014 magazine piece titled “A Rape on Campus” portrayed her as the “chief villain” of the story who was indifferent to gang-rape allegations put forth by a former UVA student named Jackie, Breitbart News previously reported.
Eramo received many angry messages from people who read the Rolling Stone article, some of which called her a “rape apologist.”
Multiple news outlets followed up on the story and found different accounts that undercut Jackie’s version of the story as an alleged rape victim to the point where Rolling Stone could no longer stand behind Jackie’s account of the story.
Wenner said in his testimony played Friday that he disagreed with former managing editor Will Dana’s decision to retract the entire article in April 2015, adding that with the exception of the Jackie account, he stood by everything in that story.
He did, however, admit the magazine should have reached out to Jackie’s alleged rapists.
“We were the victim of one of these rare, once-in-a-lifetime things that nobody in journalism can protect themselves from,” he insisted.
Dana ultimately left the magazine over the article that falsely accused a UVA fraternity of rape and a former dean of being indifferent to the rape because of his handling of the situation.
Dana never fired any of the staffers involved, even though he retracted the article, Breitbart News previously reported.