NEW: Rolling Stone revises apology after complaints of victim blaming
"These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie," the apology says
The magazine says it should have contacted the men the woman says raped her
Rolling Stone magazine has revised its apology to readers about an article on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.
The apology was originally posted Friday on the magazine website and said of Jackie, the woman who described the alleged rape, “Our trust in her was misplaced.”
In the updated apology, those words have been removed. The magazine said of its reporting errors, “These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie.”
The apology was changed Saturday without any explanation by the magazine.
Rolling Stone was criticized by some people for “victim-blaming” in the first version of the apology.
Hanna Rosin, a writer for Slate.com, said on Brian Stelter’s “Reliable Sources” show on CNN: “It essentially said this is Jackie’s fault but, you know, Jackie is not a journalist. She doesn’t know the rules of journalism. She’s just telling her own story. It’s on us to know that you have to trust but verify. You have to check the sources. You have to figure out with the story is true because if not you end up in a mess like the one we’re in now.”
Magazine managing editor Will Dana sent out a tweet Friday afternoon that reflected that sentiment, saying “That failure is on us – not on her.” But those thoughts were not put into the apology until Saturday.
The November 19 article, titled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Search for Justice at UVA,” chronicled the school’s failure to respond to that alleged assault in a fraternity house.
One of the major criticisms of Rolling Stone is that the reporter did not seek comment from the men Jackie says raped her.
The updated apology says Rolling Stone honored a request from Jackie, a pseudonym, not to interview the men because she feared retaliation.
“We should have not made this agreement with Jackie, and we should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story,” said the updated apology written by Dana. “These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie.”
The updated apology mentions discrepancies in Jackie’s account that have already been reported by The Washington Post and other news outlets.
For instance, Phi Kappa Psi did not have a party the night in September 2012 Jackie said the rape occurred and the man she identified as her date that night was not a member of that fraternity, the apology says.
The apology says, “A friend of Jackie’s (who we were told would not speak to Rolling Stone) told the Washington Post that he found Jackie that night a mile from the school’s fraternities. She did not appear to be ‘physically injured at the time’ but was shaken.
“She told him that that she had been forced to have oral sex with a group of men at a fraternity party, but he does not remember her identifying a specific house. Other friends of Jackie’s told the Washington Post that they now have doubts about her narrative, but Jackie told the Washington Post that she firmly stands by the account she gave to [reporter Sabrina Rubin] Erdely.”
After the article ran in November, It prompted an emergency meeting by the school’s governing board and the announcement of a zero-tolerance approach toward sexual assault cases. The school suspended fraternity social events until the spring semester.
According to the magazine, Jackie, who at the time had just started her freshman year at the Charlottesville school, claimed she was raped by seven men at Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, while two more gave encouragement, during a party.
However, the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter did not have a party the night of September 28, 2012, the date when the alleged attack occurred, or at all that weekend, the chapter said in a statement Friday. The chapter’s lawyer, Ben Warthen, told CNN email and fraternity records are proof.