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Posts Tagged ‘libel’

A Rape on Campus: a non-apology apology as the libel trial progresses with no sign of the real victims

Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann S. Wenner should not have deleted the 2014 story on ‘Jackie’s’ alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. There was no proof whatsoever Jackie had been raped. The Columbia University Journalism School called the story a “failure of journalism”.

Wenner’s been talking a libel trial brought by Nicole Eramo, a former associate dean of students at the university. She claims the magazine’s story portrayed her as the “chief villain”. She’s seeking a modest $7.5 million in damages.

“We did everything reasonable, appropriate up to the highest standards of journalism to check on this thing,” says Wenner, as quoted in the NY Times. “The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers – the rapists.”

Confront? Surely ask for their version of events. As journalism goes, offering the accused a right to reply is pretty standard stuff. The paper adds. ‘Wenner said there was nothing a journalist could do “if someone is really determined to commit a fraud”.’

You could err on the side of caution. But this was an agenda-driven story.

He said that while the magazine rightly retracted “the Jackie stuff,” he disagreed with the decision to retract the entire article in the wake of a damning report on it in April 2015 by The Columbia Journalism Review. He said the bulk of the article detailed ways that the University of Virginia could improve its treatment of victims of sexual assault.

“I stand by the rest of the article: personally, professionally and on behalf of the magazine,” Mr. Wenner said.

Mr. Wenner added: “You just want to be double careful, and by and large we are. We are deeply committed to accuracy in a humanistic philosophical pursuit of the truth.”

Heads have rolled.

Mr. Wenner testified that he knew there was a problem when he came to work the first Friday in December 2014 and found his managing editor, Will Dana, distraught. The deposition also provided Mr. Wenner’s fullest account of his decision to terminate Mr. Dana and the reporter who wrote the article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely. She had just begun a $300,000 writing contract. Mr. Wenner said that the quality of their work had slipped, in part because of fallout from the article.

“I cannot run the company with devastated, traumatized people,” he said.

Some irony that one traumatized woman’s alleged trauma was their undoing. Can’t work with that state of mind amongst the staffers – but can use it as a subject matter. And as for trauma, what about what of the accused?

The New York Post has more from Werner:

“I’m very, very sorry. It was never meant to ever happen this way to you,” Wenner told Nicole Eramo in taped testimony played at the
$7.85 million defamation trial.

“And believe me, I’ve suffered as much as you have,” he said. “And I know what it’s like. I hope that this whole thing hadn’t happened but it is, and it’s what we live with.”

The Daily Beast provides a neat summing up of the alleged crime and notes Wenner’s apology:

He insisted that then-managing editor Will Dana’s retraction was “inaccurate… We do not retract the whole story,” and that the magazine’s biggest mistake was not corroborating Jackie’s account with her alleged attackers.

Indeed, had Erdely and her editors even attempted to do so, they would likely have arrived at a similar conclusion as Charlottesville police did after a five-month investigation: that there was no party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity on Sept. 28, 2012, the night that Jackie claimed she was brutally raped by eight men; and that they found no evidence that Jackie was assaulted at Phi Kappa Psi or any other fraternity at UVA.

And now for that apology:

“We screwed up. Bring it on. We suffered,” Wenner said, before going on to apologize to Eramo. “It was never meant to happen this way to you. And believe me, I’ve suffered as much as you have. But please, my sympathies.”

And the accused men? No word.

Posted: 30th, October 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment

Gawker get body slammed by Hogan sex tape judgement

hulk-hogan-tattooTrying times at Gawker media:

These damages come on top of the $115m already awarded to Hogan last week which concluded a nearly two-week trial in St Petersburg, Florida. There, jurors heard how Hogan, 62, had not been contacted by the website before it posted a nine-second video clip of the wrestler having sex with the wife of his friend, DJ Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem. Hogan has said he didn’t know he was being taped.

Gawker Media itself was hit with a $15m judgment, while its owner, Nick Denton, was personally ordered to pay $10m in damages.

Ouch. That’s one pricey / lucrative shag.

Turkel said Gawker Media’s gross revenues in 2015 were $48.7m and that founder Nick Denton has a total of $121m, including a $3.6m Manhattan condo. Gawker Media is worth $83m, the lawyers said.

How much of that $121m is tired up in Gawker stock? And with this hanging over the company, isn’t that same stock now worth a whole lot less?

Posted: 22nd, March 2016 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

Labour and LibDem peers gang up to amend the Defamation Bill: Psmith Journalist shines light on our hideous libel laws

LIBEL laws in the UK are ridiculous. They’ve been so for eons. In is work Psmith Journalist,  P. G. Wodehouse has Comrade Psmith note:

In the first place, we know that there must be some one at the bottom of the business. Secondly, as there appears to be no law of libel whatsoever in this great and free country, we shall be enabled to haul up our slacks with a considerable absence of restraint…

“You may leave it to me, Comrade Windsor. I am no hardened old journalist, I fear, but I have certain qualifications for the post. A young man once called at the office of a certain newspaper, and asked for a job. ‘Have you any special line?’ asked the editor. ‘Yes,’ said the bright lad, ‘I am rather good at invective.’ ‘Any special kind of invective?’ queried the man up top. ‘No,’ replied our hero, ‘just general invective.’ Such is my own case, Comrade Windsor. I am a very fair purveyor of good, general invective… Taking full advantage of the benevolent laws of this country governing libel, I fancy I will produce a screed which will make this anonymous lessee feel as if he had inadvertently seated himself upon a tin-tack…”

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Posted: 9th, February 2013 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment

Travolta gay claims crop up again, this time, with added libel

GAY or not, John Travolta is being put through the media mangle at the moment while everyone speculates about his sexuality. All we need now is an invite from Oprah for Travolta to have a little cry and tell us how hard it all is, and we’re done.

Previous stories around this have featured large chefs flipping burgers, masseurs rejecting Travolta’s sexual advances, powerful Jews and helicopter pilots. It’s ticked many boxes. And now, the latest addition, is some libel! Robert Randolph, who wrote a book about his alleged gay encounters with John Travolta has filed a libel lawsuit against the actor and his attorney.

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Posted: 22nd, June 2012 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Naked Sleepwalker Wins 10m Euros Damages

DONAL Kinsella, 67, of Dunleer, County Louth, did not make inappropriate advances to a work colleague on a trip to Mozambique in 2007 with his company Kenmare Resources.

The company said Kinsella had behaved badly when he had appeared naked at the door of a female colleague on three occasions. They issued a press release which defamed Mr Kinsella as is explained why he has been asked to resign from an audit committee. The press release spoke of an “incident”.

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Posted: 19th, November 2010 | In: Strange But True | Comments (3)