Rolling Stone magazine publisher and co-founder Jann Wenner said in a video deposition that he disagreed with a top editor’s decision to retract an entire article about a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity after the story was discredited.
In a video played for jurors Friday in the defamation trial against Rolling Stone, Jann Wenner said that although the account given by the woman known only as “Jackie” turned out not to be accurate, the bulk of the 2014 story, “A Rape on Campus,” is still valid, The Daily Progress reports.
The article described in harrowing detail the alleged gang rape of the woman.
A police investigation found no evidence to back up Jackie’s claims and the magazine officially retracted the article in April 2015.
Nicole Eramo, former University of Virginia associate dean of students, is now seeking $7.5 million from the magazine over the story, saying it defamed her and portrayed her as its chief villain. Wenner’s deposition video was played shortly before Eramo’s attorneys rested their case.
Wenner said in the video that although the magazine no longer stands by Jackie’s account, it never retracted the entire article and didn’t intend to. After being asked to read the magazine’s April 2015 note written by then-Managing Editor Will Dana which said “we are officially retracting ‘A Rape on Campus,'” Wenner said he believes that retraction is “inaccurate.”
“I do not stand by it,” Wenner said. “We do not retract the whole story.”
Rolling Stone’s attorneys have argued that the magazine believes its portrayal of Eramo and the university’s handling of sexual assault cases was well-reported and accurate, despite problems with Jackie’s account.
Wenner said the magazine was the “victim” of someone who was “really determined to commit a fraud.” He apologized to Eramo for any damage that the article may have caused, before adding: “Believe me, I have suffered as much as you have.”