November 4, 2016

Jury finds Rolling Stone liable in the defamation suit over its false fraternity-gang-rape story about the University of Virginia

The winning plaintiff is Nicole P. Eramo, who was the associate dean of students, the NYT reports.
[I]n videotaped testimony shown during the trial, Jann S. Wenner, Rolling Stone’s founder and editor, said the magazine was wrong to retract the story fully.

“We did everything reasonable, appropriate up to the highest standards of journalism to check on this thing,” Mr. Wenner said. “The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists.”

Referring to Jackie, Mr. Wenner said there was nothing a journalist could do “if someone is really determined to commit a fraud.”
The jury didn't buy that.  And Eramo was deemed a public figure so the verdict represents a finding that the publisher either knew the story was false or had reckless disregard for whether or not it was true.

There's a second lawsuit brought by the fraternity.

62 comments:

Scott McGlasson said...

Among the comments at Jezebel.com, where I went after the verdict for some much needed schadenfreude, was the feeling that this will cast doubt on future cases. To that sentiment, I say, GOOD. Each case should be handled individually. This "she deserves to be believed" edifice has produced an culture of guilty until proven innocent, all to often with a lack of due process.

Achilles said...

Excellent. Free speech does not protect yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre. It should not protect people who knowingly lie when they know it will harm someone else unfairly.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists.

What were the rapists ( pretending for a moment that there were rapists ) accusing Jackie of?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists

False. You didn't check if there was a party at the fraternity in question on the night of the claimed rape. You didn't check which semester the fraternity in question has pledges. You didn't check if the story passed the smell test.

gbarto said...

“The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists.” - Jann Venner

Did I miss something here?

Gk1 said...

And to think democrats where trying to create "anti campus rape" laws based on this fabrication. Its not been a good year for libeling, liberal, pricks has it? First Gawker now this.

buwaya said...

The fraternity lawsuit is more interesting, as its more generally applicable as a precedent I think.

Its not too common to insult a university employee in this way, but it is a general practice to make such accusations against fraternities, in print in the press/very often in college newspaper sites, by professors, and etc.

Rumpletweezer said...

Rolling Stone was doing better journalism when Hunter Thompson just made stuff up.

Big Mike said...

@gbarto, you mean because she wasn't raped? Or because they didn't exist in the first place?

MadisonMan said...

The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists.

He speaks as if a rape occurred.

Big Mike said...

I hope the jury comes back and asks the judge whether they are limited to the damages asked for, or can they increase the damages.

coupe said...

This is exactly the reason the Jews should stick to controlling the music and movie industry, and not get involved with real journalism.

It tends to backfire, and then they all end up getting burned or completely thrown into the ovens.

Jesus can't help these people. He can't help the Moslems either...

Mac McConnell said...

The Rolling Stone like Esquire have passed their expiration dates.

tim maguire said...

Can the jury ask about Rolling Stones' insurance limits? Whatever it is, the award should be double.

mockturtle said...

Maybe this will usher in a new era of journalistic accountability. And then, again, maybe not.

Ken B said...

I assume he cannot be sued for calling the men rapists during testimony. Will he repeat the charge where he can be sued? Any lawyer here who can confirm?

Ken B said...

Rolling Stone would not want me assessing the damages. This is in the same league as NBC trying to get Zimmerman killed with false editing. Whipping up mob hysteria is serious in my view, and I would give an award sufficient to ensure the publication had to fold.

Bob Loblaw said...

“The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists.”

The fraternity members should add this guy to the suit as an individual.

Big Mike said...

Whatever it is, the award should be double.

@tim, yes! Where is RICO when you need it most?

JPS said...

coupe, 3:54:

Really, now? Who's Jewish in all this (the "reporter"? Wenner?) and what possible relevance does that have?

n.n said...

the reason the Jews should stick to controlling the music and movie industry

Jews are not Pro-Choice. Their philosophy does not contain a principle that presumes guilt. In fact, there is a high standard of evidence that must be met for a conviction, and individuals who knowingly commit fraud or withhold evidence are subject to a punishment in kind.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I gave up on Rolling Stone after the Boston Bomber cover. They keep sending it to me free, even though my subscription, "paid for" with about to expire frequent flier miles, has long since run its term. I would hazard a guess that they are wasting money and trees to keep sending it to me and who knows how many other lapsed subscribers in order to cheat their advertisers, who in my opinion have it coming for financially supporting its miserable reporting. I can only hope that my unwanted and unread copy will also factor into the damages in this case.

rhhardin said...

It's a bad thing when narratives are fined. Fiction will die out entirely.

holdfast said...

I still find this case to be unsatisfying - apparently Eramo had to show actual malice because Eramo was a public figure. Really? An associate dean is a public figure? By that standard, who isn't a public figure - recluse cave dwellers?

I love America, but defamation law here is a mess.

rhhardin said...

Last Chance Harvey (2008) was good, on second viewing. I'm going through my over-vast stock instead of buying new ones, on the theory that any good ones have already been bought, based on recent evidence.

Speaking of narratives.

Laslo Spatula said...

Jenna, the Woman Who Falsely Claims Rape to Be Popular says:

I wasn't a popular girl when I was sixteen: boys ignored me and -- well -- girls ignored me, too. It was like I didn't even exist, which is a horrible feeling, and horrible feelings really make you feel horrible, they really, really do..

Then, in 2006, I told everybody that I was raped by Justin Timberlake. They were SO impressed! Of all the people in the world, Justin Timberlake raped ME! Boys looked at me differently, and a lot of the Cool Girls were SO jealous…!

And people were so impressed at how brave I was in handling it: I didn't act ashamed or nothing, Justin Timberlake did not take my Dignity! I even wore to school a shirt that said "I Was Raped By Justin Timberlake" and people would congratulate me on my Strength…!

I had to do an essay for my college admissions, so I wrote an essay called "How Justin Timberlake Raped Me and How I Remained a Strong Woman." My grades kinda sucked, but I was admitted into my first-choice school! I was pretty proud of that essay -- here's the first paragraph:

"In 2006 I went out walking alone one night, wondering just how I fit into the Universe. There is a lot of emotions in a young woman's mind when she feels she is about to take the next big step into adulthood. These were big adult emotions in my head, and I felt scared, yet also excited. Then a white limo drove past, slowed and invited me in. In the back was Justin Timberlake, and a big privileged white guy named Ed who held me down as Justin Timberlake forcibly removed my pants and panties…"

I have to to tell the truth here: when I had lied about Justin Timberlake raping me in the past I always made 'Ed' black: it just seemed like he would be, you know? But for the college essay I made him white to better show how privileged white males oppress women: I think the college liked that…

At college I instantly became popular as The Girl Justin Timberlake Raped -- it was amazing! Everyone wanted to hear my story over and over, and my Instructors were proud of my Example of not letting white-male-caused trauma ruin my sense of Female Identity as a Representative of the Oppressed. In fact, one Instructor let me not take my final exam because I told him testing brought back the Rape Experience -- I still got an 'A'…!

After awhile, though, people stopped asking about me being raped by Justin Timberlake, and the attention slowly ebbed away. The horrible feelings started to come back in my head: maybe I WAS only worthwhile if I was raped by Justin Timberlake…

Then, in 2007, I told people I was raped by one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers: everyone wanted to know which one! I kept it mysterious, but I made a point to cry whenever one of their songs came on…


I am Laslo.

Bad Lieutenant said...


JPS said...
coupe, 3:54:

Really, now? Who's Jewish in all this (the "reporter"? Wenner?) and what possible relevance does that have?


Don't mind coupé, he's a wet-brain.

David said...

The story was suspect from the start. The details consisted of nearly every stereotype about a college "rape" experience. The best way to avoid being tricked by a fraudster is skepticism. Rolling Stone (and just about everyone else) approached the story with credulity.

It's interesting that Dean Euramo was deemed a public figure. Seems to me that if she was, it was this story that made her one.

JPS said...

Bad Lieutenant,

Well, maybe. I do feel a bit foolish for asking, though, since Googling the answer turns up an awful lot about Sabrina Rubin Erdely. (It also turns up a hell of a lot else I'd have preferred not to read.) So yeah, pretty obvious connection, but I would still object on the grounds of relevance.

Gabriel said...

“The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists.”

Besides that they didn't exist, they didn't "accuse" Jackie of anything. Does this person think "accuse" is synonymous with "persecute" or "torment"? Did this person graduate college?

Mary Beth said...

Big Mike said...

@gbarto, you mean because she wasn't raped? Or because they didn't exist in the first place?

11/4/16, 3:51 PM


Sure, those things, plus he calls the young men her "accusers" when she was the one doing the accusing.

Quaestor said...

"Hulk" Hogan bankrupted Gawker for which I shed not a tear. Maybe between Eramo and the frat boys Rolling Stone can finally be consigned to its highest and best use.

PackerBronco said...

---------------
Among the comments at Jezebel.com, where I went after the verdict for some much needed schadenfreude, was the feeling that this will cast doubt on future cases.
---------------

I believe the technical legal term for that is .... "presumption of innocence."

PackerBronco said...

-------------
Rolling Stone (and just about everyone else) approached the story with credulity.
-------------

Worse than believing the story to be true, they WANTED the story to be true. In fact, they went out with their story line already written and then were just looking for some poor saps to fill in the blanks.

Bad Lieutenant said...

JPS, I do assure you, with regards to coupe, set phasers on "ignore." He is pretty much worthless. Free country and all, but there is no upside with him.

Laslo Spatula said...

Jenna, the Woman Who Falsely Claims Rape to Be Popular says:

In 2007, I told people at college that I was raped by one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers: everyone wanted to know which one! Well, at least at first; then, pretty quickly people didn't seem to care much, because -- let's face it -- the guys in the band were old and nobody really cared about them much anymore. I mean, it was better than being raped by Joey Fatone in 2007, but Joey Fatone was no Justin Timberlake…

So in 2008 I told everyone I was raped one of our math professors -- the one with the seventies-style wire-rim glasses that all the women students hated because he would give them bad grades and not let them write essays for extra credit. The school was in an uproar -- I even made the national news! Needless to say, he was fired, but I chose the High Road and refused to press charges: that seemed like it would be unfair, you know…?

A lot of Empowered Women wondered why I wouldn't press charges in such an obvious rape case, but I said one rape conviction wouldn't make a difference -- we needed people to be aware that ANY man could be a rapist, and my time was better spent focusing on that…

So, as a rape victim, I worked for Rape Awareness on Campus. I had told people the Instructor had raped me against a standing hat rack in his office, so I carried a hat rack everywhere I went, as a silent reminder that women can be raped by any man, anywhere. You see, the hat rack was a Symbol -- MY Symbol: I was Hat Rack Girl, the Girl Who was Raped, and the hat rack represented all the Furniture white men have used in the conduct of sexual violence…

People on campus understood, but I had to explain a lot when I took my hat rack with me in the city on Public Transit: look, people, my hat rack may be inconveniencing you for space on the bus, but I was RAPED…

I am Laslo.

wildswan said...

Chronicles of Gray Lady Down.
The NYT story says "The one thing we didn’t do that we could have done is confront Jackie's accusers, the rapists" but Jenner actually said:
“The one thing we didn’t do that we could have done is confront Jackie’s so-called [rapists].”
https://archive.is/VUOz0#selection-763.144-763.238

J. Farmer said...

The fraternity should have an even better case, considering that their property was vandalized, their operations temporarily halted, and worst of all being publicly branded, shamed, and protested as rapists. A minimal questioning of Jackie's story would've revealed all the gossamer on which it was built. But, of course, to question the details of a reported rape is to be a woman-hating, rape-apologizing bigot. The article actually claimed that gang-raping a coed on a bed of broken class for hours was part of a fraternity initiation. That would suggest it was ritualized behavior. Dozens of frat guys are flagrantly committing violent gang rape on a regular basis? And the administration was just turning a deaf ear? This actually seemed reasonable to the fevered imagination of Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

wildswan said...

Chronicles of Gray Lady Down.
The NYT story says "The one thing we didn’t do that we could have done is confront Jackie's accusers, the rapists" but Jenner actually said:
“The one thing we didn’t do that we could have done is confront Jackie’s so-called [rapists].”
https://archive.is/VUOz0#selection-763.144-763.238

Geoff Matthews said...

Forget about confronting the rapists. They should have asked to see Jackie's back. If she really were raped on top of broken glass, there would be obvious scarring.

Gk1 said...

And why isn't Jackie's last name and photo spread far and wide? Shouldn't that be at a minimum for fabricating a story that caused so much harm? Or would this cause a chilling effect for would be rape hoaxers in the future?

Amadeus 48 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

Jenna, the Woman Who Falsely Claims Rape to Be Popular says:

I was Hat Rack Girl, the Girl who was Raped, but after three months it got tiring just dragging that damned hat rack everywhere I went. But I couldn't just stop carrying it -- not when white males were raping four of every five women on Campus: that would be admitting defeat…

So I emailed several of the Campus Support Groups that I was going to conduct a special event: The "You Don't Control Me Fire." I was going to set the hat rack on fire in the parking lot of the men's gym as a Statement, and I invited all the women on campus that had been the victim of Male Violence or Male Indifference or Male Microagressions to bring symbols of their memory to burn along in the fire…

It was great! There must've been at least two hundred women, and they burned all kinds of stuff: University T-Shirts, photographs, stuffed animal gifts, meticulously tied-up sticks in the form of men, pressed roses, panties -- some even got tattoos of fire on their arms in support of the Event! Needless to say, I was the center of attention, and that felt good. I don't mean that in a selfish way: I mean I felt good so others could feel good, too. That's what I meant. And now I didn't have to drag that damned hat rack with me everywhere, Thank God…

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Jenna, the Woman Who Falsely Claims Rape to Be Popular says:

In 2009 I met a Guy who I really, really liked. We went out for coffee and pastries and it was absolutely wonderful! And when we had sex he didn't even try for anal..!

But then his friends showed him internet stories about my Rape Awareness Activities and told him he better be careful around me or I might accuse him, too. At first he laughed about it, but soon he stop calling, and he would no longer answer my text messages. It was like I didn't exist to him anymore, like I was disposable, and that's when I realized he had raped me, after all…

His Violence was his false words of affection, holding me down emotionally while he forced sex upon me under the guise of Love: I knew that, now. I didn't agree to THAT sex: the sex of someone who wore an emotional mask and got what he wanted, and then just went away. THAT was the sex that had happened, not the sex I first thought I was agreeing to…

I was a Victim, again. How many times would I intersect with men's insatiable lust for me? These thoughts haunted me, until I realized the only thing I could do was write a Memoir...

I am Laslo.

Matthew Blaine said...

This article should have been met with more skepticism. I read that ninety-seven percent of rapists are never punished. That means that only three percent of rape allegations are true. Not many talk about this.

You're welcome to check my math.

robother said...

I love that Jann Wenner republished the libel in his sworn testimony, labelling the Fraternity as the "rapists" that Rolling Stone failed to contact. Hopefully that will increase the damages.

Hey Skipper said...

Laslo, you have outdone yourself.

✅ +11

Terry said...

Jann Wenner's problem is not that he is Jewish, it is that he is a looney toon.

FullMoon said...

"The lawsuit centered on Erdely’s 9,000-word article titled “A Rape on Campus,” which appeared online in late November 2014....."

This guy, and the commenters, tore it apart immediately:

Richard Bradley

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Burn baby burn.

tcrosse said...

Laslo, you magnificent bastard!

William said...

Did anyone read about the alleged rape by Nate Parker. He's the true victim here. Just as the poor guy was on the verge of fame and fortune and maybe even an Academy Award, all this rape hysteria breaks out. Nate and a friend were elite athletes at college. They had sex with a girl who was extremely drunk. They claim the sex was consensual. She claimed otherwise. They both got off, one on a technicality and the other was found innocent. Whatever the truth of the matter, both men behaved dishonorably both before and after the encounter.. The girl went on to commit suicide. You could probably make an interesting movie about it, alrhough Nate Parker would not be the ideal guy to bring it to be the screen. The movie he did make, Birth of a Nation, had some rape scenes, but, given his background, they apparently don't play well with audiences.........Timing is everything in this life. Roman Polanski and Kobe Bryant would have had more problematic careers if they committed rape in the present environment. Fortunately, they're not Republicans so no new women will be coming forward with sordid stories.

Yancey Ward said...

They deserve to lose the case. Wenner in the tape is basically still claiming the story is true despite the landslide of evidence that it was entirely fictional. How else can you interpret...

"The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists."

Really, how hard is to to just fucking admit you screwed the pooch? Wenner should make a fine press spokesman for Shelob if she scuttles into the Oval Office next week.

Zach said...

This is one of those cases where you can actually argue for reckless disregard of the truth. The fraternity didn't have a party that day, the supposed rapist doesn't exist. Asking someone to comment on the article in more than a pro forma "We're publishing this tomorrow, would you like to put in a word in your defense?" would have stood a fair chance of exposing the truth.

Yancey Ward said...

Wenner is lucky I am not on the jury- the lack of admission of fault and contrition would lead me to try to bankrupt the magazine.

Amadeus 48 said...

Of course, the real actor here, the fantasist Jackie Coakley, is getting off with no real consequences. The general public doesn't know her name, she peddled her phony story to a national magazine, she made fools out of the UVA administration (not hard, that) and she recently consigned some poor man to a life of hell by marrying.

Yancey Ward said...

Wildswan,

That is interesting. I tried to find a link to the actual deposition, but it apparently isn't public. There is definitely a conflict in the two stories.

Yancey Ward said...

I would hesitate to publicize the woman's name, or even treat her harshly. I am fifty, but I definitely remember the crazy thoughts that can get into your head when confronted with unreturned affections. It really is a kind of madness.

Tarrou said...

What's the world coming to when you can't accuse a couple hundred white males of gang rape and a university of engaging in a massive coverup based on the word of one deranged feminist without a lawsuit?

Oh, and the vile fantasists name is Jackie Coakley. May it be remembered in the same sentence as Tawana Brawley and Crystal Mangum.

Ipso Fatso said...

Pictures of Jackie Coakley can easily be found on google. Which picture is actually her, I am not sure. If it is the one that is repeated over and over and linked to the UVA story, she is actually an attractive young woman. (Not that that should matter, but hey, I am a guy and a pig).

My guess is that she will suffer from this, but remember, lefties take care of their own. Much like Melissa Click finding work in the Academy (and Angela Davis and Bill Ayres before her), Coakley will be taken care of by some non-profit or large government agency with sympathetic powers that be. Should she be sued? Yes, what you would recover financially would not be much.

James Graham said...

Yes I know her name but it is still never mentioned in the MSM.

Protection for child rape victims, adult rape victims ... and liars (but only those who tell false stories about white American men).

We surely live in the Golden Age of hypocrisy.

Bad Lieutenant said...

AFAIK Wenner is German.