Rolling Stone Managing Editor Tweets About UVA Rape Story: ‘The Failure Is On Us’

Will Dana expands on magazine’s doubts over rape piece

Last Updated: December 5, 2014 @ 6:54 PM

Following Rolling Stone’s open letter regarding doubts over its reporting of an alleged rape at the University of Virginia, the magazine’s managing editor took to Twitter on Friday to offer his personal thoughts.

Will Dana sent a series of tweets about vetting of the piece, “A Rape on Campus,” which was published in Rolling Stone’s November issue. The story centers on a woman named Jackie, who claimed she was raped by multiple men at UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

The Wenner Media publication said on its official website earlier Friday, that out of respect for the victim, they did not pursue comment from Jackie’s alleged attackers. But, new evidence uncovered by the magazine raised questions about the account and forced the publication to apologize for not vetting Jackie’s story.

Dana posted the following series of statements on Twitter:

Read Rolling Stone’s full letter to readers, also written by Dana, below:

Last month, Rolling Stone published a story titled “A Rape on Campus” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity house; the university’s failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school’s troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school responds to sexual assault allegations.

Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie’s credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie’s account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence.

In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

 

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