Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of the Rolling Stone published article “A Rape on Campus” has been terminated by the publication. The article in question created some major controversy when it was published back in Nov. 2014 when it reported false details about a gang rape on the University of Virginia’s campus.
The publication and reporter did not do the appropriate fact checking and the Magazine admitted to the major flaws. The UVA’s dean Nicole Eramo then sued the publication for $7.5 million for defamation.
In previous disclosures during the lawsuit, Erdely appeared to be still employed by the magazine even though the article caused the publication to lose its credibility. However, the latest papers filed by Eramo last Friday stated that “Rolling Stone is no longer working with Sabrina Rubin Erdely and has terminated her contract.”
The fabricated article gave incorrect details by the former Jackie Coakley, whereas she gave a horrifying account of being raped by a group of fraternity members. Her claims were quickly found to be untrue and merely just lies and Rolling Stone was humiliated.
But, the publication wasn’t the only one, UVA was also publicly disgraced. Specifically, the article reported that Eramo, the school administer did not take Coakley’s accusations seriously.
In an effort to save face, the magazine asked Columbia University’s graduate program in journalism to help them determine why the article went so wrong. Columbia’s report stated that the piece was a “a journalistic failure at every level” and that Erdely failed to do “basic, even routine journalistic practice.” The Poynter Institute listed the article as one of the “Errors of the Year.”
The writer failed to obtain the names of Coakley’s attackers, the leader of the incident was referred to as the “lifeguard.” She also did not seek out any others to get other sources and took only one person’s word for it.
“This experience has been devastating to me, both professionally and personally. Never in my 20-plus years as a reporter have I had a story or a source fall apart on me after publication. After feeling so sure about the Article, and believing so strongly that it would help spur change on college campuses, losing faith in the credibility of one of my major sources postpublication took me entirely by surprise. I was stunned and shaken by the experience, and remain so to this day,” said Erdely to The Washington Post.
It’s safe to say that Erdely will be living with her journalistic mistake forever.