Three University of Virginia graduates and members of a fraternity profiled in a debunked account of a gang rape in Rolling Stone filed a lawsuit against the publication and the article's author today, court records show. The three men, George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford, and Ross Fowler, filed suit in US District Court in New York. They are also suing Rolling Stone's publisher, Wenner Media. A lawyer for the men said they suffered "vicious and hurtful attacks" because of inaccuracies in the November 2014 article, which was written by journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
In their lawsuit, the three 2013 graduates said the article "created a simple and direct way to match the alleged attackers" from the alleged gang rape to them based on details provided in the story. "Upon release of the article, family friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and reporters easily matched (Elias) as one of the alleged attackers and, among other things, interrogated him, humiliated him, and scolded him," the lawsuit said, adding that Hadford and Fowler "suffered similar attacks." The men are suing on three counts, including defamation and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and are asking for at least $75,000 for each count.