On Sunday, September 17th, Jenn Wenner announced that he was putting his remaining shares in the iconic American brand RollingStone up for sale. Then, on Tuesday, September 19th, an Appeals Court, overturned a lower court ruling, regarding the infamous Rape On Campus story.
According to the NY Times:On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan ruled that a lower court had erred in dismissing a defamation lawsuit filed by three former members of the fraternity at the center of the 2014 article. In the earlier decision, a judge ruled that the three men — George Elias IV, Ross Fowler and Stephen Hadford — had not shown that the article was “of and concerning” them personally, apart from the fraternity…But in their decision, a panel of appellate judges wrote that “while it is a close call,” the district judge was incorrect when it came to two of the men, Mr. Elias and Mr. Fowler, and sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings.
If you have been following the story, RollingStone has already been forced to settle two other cases as a result of the Fake News story, resulting in payouts of nearly $5 million dollars. And imagine the legal expenses that were incurred over the years fighting a losing battle. Columbia Review of Journalism completely debunked the story. And now RollingStone is facing additional costs to defend themselves in two more defamation suits brought by the Fraternity brothers who were implicated by the article.
There has been much speculation that the costs involved in this case led to the earlier sale of a minority stake in RollingStone. perhaps contributed to Wenner’s decision to put the remaining shares up for sale. Selling this damaged and bleeding brand will certainly be complicated by the revival of these defamation suits.
Here’s a toast to all the Fact Checkers of the world.
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