Rolling Stone’s Managing Editor Steps Down, UVA Fraternity Members Announce Lawsuit Amid Discredited Rape Story

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A fraternity house at the University of Virginia. (Credit: CNN)

Months after Rolling Stone published a now-discredited story about an alleged rape at the Univesity of Virginia, the magazine’s managing editor Will Dana said he was stepping down in a statement Wednesday – the same day three members of a campus fraternity announced they were suing the publication.

Dana’s departure was first reported by The New York Times, which said his final day at the publication is Aug. 7.

“After 19 years at Rolling Stone, I have decided that it is time to move on.” Dana said in a statement provided to The Times. “It has been a great ride and I loved it even more than I imagined I would.”

A spokeswoman for Rolling Stone confirmed that The Times story was accurate, but declined to provide additional details.

Jann Wenner, the magazine’s publisher, did not immediately respond when asked for comment late Wednesday night. But he told The Times that Dana was “one of the finest editors I have ever worked with.”

Dana did not respond to a request for comment.

Rolling Stone has been reeling since the November publication of “A Rape on Campus,” the magazine’s shocking account of a gang rape at the University of Virginia. Following the story’s publication, investigators weren’t able to find evidence the rape occurred.

The story relied primarily on a single anonymous source, called Jackie.

An outside review by Columbia Journalism School professors, released in April, found the magazine’s failures were sweeping and “may have spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations.”

When the review was published, Rolling Stone officially retracted the story and apologized. But Wenner did not fire anyone on staff, saying he believed the missteps were unintentional, not purposefully deceitful.

Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the story’s author, has also apologized.

It’s not yet clear if Dana’s departure is linked to the bungled rape story. On Wednesday, Wenner was quoted in The Times saying that “many factors go into a decision like this.”

Also on Wednesday, three members of the UVA fraternity sued Rolling Stone.

The suit was filed in Manhattan federal court on behalf of George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford and Ross Fowler. The three men, who graduated in 2013, were members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity that was cited in Erdely’s story.

The fraternity itself hasn’t filed a lawsuit, but it said in April that it “plans to pursue all available legal action against the magazine.”

 

The lawsuit was the second to be filed against Rolling Stone because of the story. Nicole Eramo, a UVA associate dean of students, sued the magazine and Erdely for $7.5 million, claiming the story depicted Eramo as a callous bureaucrat during the aftermath Jackie’s supposed assault.