In WaPo, Jackie’s Friends Reject Key Parts of Rolling Stone’s Account

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Another day, another nail in the coffin of Rolling Stone’s now infamous tale. This afternoon, the Washington Post reports that Jackie’s three friends explicitly reject some key claims that were made about their behavior:

In their first interviews about the events of that September 2012 night, the three friends separately told The Post that their recollections of the encounter diverge from how the Rolling Stone article portrayed the incident in a story about Jackie’s alleged gang rape at a U-Va. fraternity. The interviews also provide a richer account of Jackie’s interactions immediately after the alleged attack.

The scene with her friends was pivotal in the article, as it alleged that the friends were callously apathetic about a beaten, bloodied, injured classmate reporting a brutal gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The account alleged that the students worried about the effect it might have on their social status, how it might reflect on Jackie during the rest of her collegiate career, and how they suggested not reporting it. It set up the article’s theme: That U-Va. has a culture that is indifferent to rape.

“It didn’t happen that way at all,” Andy said.

This is unsurprising. For that detail to have been true, Jackie would not only have to have had the three worst human beings in America as her friends, but she’d also have to have chosen to relate her ordeal to a group of people who speak in the sort of language that one usually only finds in bad teenage beach novels.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the friends contend that Sabrina Erdely’s reporting does not tally with their experiences, and note that they were not were not so much as asked for their testimony:

They also said Jackie’s description of what happened to her that night differs from what she told Rolling Stone. In addition, information that Jackie gave the three friends about one of her attackers, called “Drew” in Rolling Stone, differed significantly from details she later told The Post, Rolling Stone and friends from sexual assault awareness groups on campus. The three said Jackie did not specifically identify a fraternity that night.

. . .

They said there are mounting inconsistencies with the original narrative in the magazine. The students also expressed suspicions about Jackie’s allegations from that night. They said the name she provided as that of her date did not match anyone at the university, and U-Va. officials confirmed to The Post that no one by that name has attended the school.

And photographs that were texted to one of the friends showing her date that night actually were pictures depicting one of Jackie’s high school classmates in Northern Virginia. That man, now a junior at a university in another state, confirmed that the photographs are of him and said he barely knew Jackie and hasn’t been to Charlottesville for at least six years.

The friends said they never were contacted or interviewed by the pop culture magazine’s reporters or editors. Though vilified in the article as coldly indifferent to Jackie’s ordeal, the students said they cared deeply about their friend’s well-being and safety. Randall said that they made every effort to help Jackie that night.

So: no fraternity, no name, no photograph, and an immediate account that is significantly different from the one Erdely presented as fact. 

Finally, one of the friends, “Randall,” rejects Erdeley’s suggestion that he had no interest in contributing to her piece:

The Rolling Stone article also said that Randall declined to be interviewed, “citing his loyalty to his own frat.” He told The Post that he never was contacted by Rolling Stone and would have agreed to an interview. The article’s writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not respond to requests for comment this week.

Read the whole thing here.

Update: I just read the second part of the piece again, and it is absolutely damning. We are approaching the point at which one could construct a case in favor of the whole thing’s having been made up from scratch.

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