A Note to Our ReadersMy Taki’s Magazine article from earlier this week, “A Rape Hoax for Book Lovers,” details the timeline by which my blog brought Richard Bradley’s skepticism to media attention:
BY ROLLING STONE | December 5, 2014
To Our Readers:
Last month, Rolling Stone published a story titled "A Rape on Campus" by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity house; the university's failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school's troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school responds to sexual assault allegations.
Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie's story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone's editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie's credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie's account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn't confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence.
In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.
A timeline of how Richard Bradley’s critique finally made its way to the general public may be of interest.
A reader kindly alerted me to Bradley’s post on November 24th. I made four scattershot comments on it on November 25th, beginning with my question:
Wouldn’t the rapists get cut by the broken glass all over the floor, too? I guess they were such sex-crazed animals that they didn’t notice the glass cutting their hands and knees for the first three hours.
I continued to mull over the issues that had been raised. (I hate being publicly wrong, so I’m cautious.) On the 27th I returned to Bradley’s blog to find I was still the only commenter, and added a fifth:
Sorry to keep coming back to this, but I’ve done some more thinking and here’s where the story falls apart: pitch darkness _and_ broken glass on the floor. The glass table is smashed, but nobody turns on the light to see what happened or where the broken glass is? Instead, each man, having heard the glass table get smashed, still gets down on the floor covered with shards of broken glass, risking not only his hands and knees, but also pulling out an even more personal part of his anatomy, one that he only has one of.
By the 29th I was still the only commenter, but I finally felt confident enough that there were major problems with the Rolling Stone account to link to Bradley’s critique from my iSteve blog at the Unz Review.Read the whole thing there.
That opened the floodgates. Comments finally poured in to Bradley’s blog [initially overwhelmingly from my readers]. And on the first two days of December, numerous well-known publications weighed in with skeptical assessments based on Bradley’s analysis: Robby Soave at Reason, Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, Megan McArdle at Bloomberg, Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner, Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal, Judith Shulevitz at The New Republic, Jonah Goldberg at the Los Angeles Times, and Erik Wemple at the Washington Post.
The Washington Post has a new article full of new reporting.
The University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter did not have a party the night of September 28, 2012, the date when the reported attack occurred, the fraternity chapter’s lawyer, Ben Warthen, told CNN. He said email records and Inter-fraternity Council records prove there was no party.It’s time for the recriminations to begin!
Warthen said there were other discrepancies in the account from the woman, whom Rolling Stone identified as Jackie, who then had just started her freshman year. For example, the orchestrator of the alleged rape did not belong to the fraternity, the fraternity house has no side staircase and there were no pledges at that time of year.
“It’s not part of our culture,” Warthen said. “It’s just not true.”