Rolling Stone published a mega trending article last month documenting the story of a horrific fraternity gang rape of a freshman student at the University of Virginia. The rape victim herself shared her story of the cold, calculated, and brutal events that took place upstairs at a UVA frat house and the almost more sickening callous fallout as friends, classmates, and the university seemed to gang up against the victim in the favor of not making waves. This story so perfectly fit into the current rape culture on rich kid college campus meme that it quickly went viral around the net, around the world, and smeared tons of people both named and given modest cover in the long form article. Except, yeah, the girl at the center of the story lied.
Rolling Stone just issued an apology. It’s not the kind of apology one traditionally makes after accusing the members of a specific fraternity and students and faculty at a specific university with gross charges of sexual assault and coverup. Like, my bad for calling you a rapist in an 8-page blowout article where we forgot to fact check the single most important underlying fact. It’s more like the, we tried our best but this chick just lied so good it’s not really our fault.
There’s no doubt that mixing 18-22 year old horny drunk men women in a largely unsupervised social setting that includes some out and out predators has created an environment rife for assault, rape, and other heinous shit. While the stats may be overblown for political purposes, I have no doubt it’s earnestly a big problem. The solution is not to put a fake face to it to spread the gospel. Rolling Stone, you’ve not just tarnished the innocent, you’ve likely made it that much more difficult for the future guilty to be brought to justice. I’ve been a long time fan of the magazine. But shame on your for falling into rape mania. Yeah, I said shame on you because I guess I’m getting old and this journalism was super fucking lame.