Rolling Stone magazine published an article in November of 2014 regarding a reported gang rape by members of a fraternity at University of Virginia. The magazine quickly retracted the article after it was met with opposition and the possibility of false accusations. Now the fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, is publicly planning to pursue legal action against Rolling Stone.
The fraternity claimed that the magazine failed to properly research the story before publishing, claiming defamation. They claim the story accused members of a crime they did not commit. The problem with this potential lawsuit is that their claim of defamation may not be solid enough to support itself in court. In order to proceed with the lawsuit, they would have to allow examination of all of their activities, exposing private details that many members would not want to be made public. In addition to this, they may have to prove that the magazine actually committed a crime (something which would be nearly impossible.)
With all of the public speculation and conversation surrounding rapes at universities throughout the country, it may not have been a smart move for the fraternity to bring forward a lawsuit so many months after the original article was posted. Although the fraternity’s reputation may be damaged, by doing this they have voluntarily brought themselves and the unwanted attention associated with the case back into the public eye.