Rolling Stone to Retract Botched Rape Story as Damning Review Is Released

Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who wrote the article, will speak about the missteps in her reporting for the first time Sunday

Rolling Stone's "Rape on Campus" article
Rolling Stone

The author of Rolling Stone’s discredited “A Rape on Campus” story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, will apologize Sunday in conjunction with the release of the Columbia Journalism School’s external review of the erroneous story, according to media reports.

Rolling Stone will also pull the story from its site and put Columbia’s review in its place, Brian Stelter reported Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” The decision to take the story down is a fairly unprecedented step in the digital media era.

The reportedly 12,000-word review is expected to be a damning piece that places fault in all corners of Rolling Stone for errors made in the reporting and storytelling process for the campus rape story, published in November. Rolling Stone will also be taking responsibility for its errors, Stelter reported.

The review will be authored by Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll.  It is expected to be published on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website as well as on Rolling Stone’s site.

In March, police in Charlottesvile, Virgina issued their investigation’s findings, saying they found no evidence a rape occurred at the University of Virginia on the night in question in 2012.

“I can’t prove that something didn’t happen, and there may come a point in time in which this survivor, or this complaining party or someone else, may come forward with some information that might help us move this investigation further,” Police Chief Timothy Longo said to reporters.

“That doesn’t mean that something terrible did not happen to Jackie on the evening of Sept. 28, 2012,” Longo added, referring to the alleged victim and adding that his department was simply unable to corroborate her account. “This case is not closed by any stretch of the imagination.”

Following the story’s publishing, media outlets including The Washington Post and CNN began to find holes in it.

It was also revealed that out of sensitivity to the female accuser, the author of the piece never reached out to any of the males accused of raping her.

Columbia’s review will be published at 8 p.m. ET. Rolling Stone has told TheWrap it will send a link to the report, but has not yet responded to our request for interview.