The Rolling Stone reporter who wrote the discredited and retracted story about a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia frat house issued a formal apology for her mistakes Sunday, but while she apologized to several groups of people — including rape victims who may now fear telling their stories — she did not apologize specifically to members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
"I want to offer my deepest apologies: to Rolling Stone's readers, to my Rolling Stone editors and colleagues, to the UVA community, and to any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article," Sabrina Rubin Erdely wrote in a statement published by the New York Times.
UVA temporarily suspended all Greek life following the publication of "A Rape on Campus" in November, yet the report drew questions almost immediately about whether the assault really occurred. The alleged victim's story was quickly unraveled by other news outlets, including the Washington Post. On Sunday, Rolling Stone announced it was retracting the report, in conjunction with the release of a scathing outside review conducted by the Columbia School of Journalism.
For its part, Rolling Stone did apologize to the fraternity whose members were accused of rape.
"We would like to apologize to our readers and to all of those who were damaged by our story and the ensuing fallout, including members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and UVA administrators and students," managing editor Will Dana said.
Dana also explicitly acknowledged that the discredited story may make it more difficult for rape victims to report what happened to them.
"Sexual assault is a serious problem on college campuses, and it is important that rape victims feel comfortable stepping forward," he said. "It saddens us to think that their willingness to do so might be diminished by our failings."
Last December, after it became apparent that the story was falling apart, Dana was initially accused of blaming the alleged victim, known as Jackie, for the incorrect story, instead of the magazine's own failure to report the story properly. Dana wrote that Rolling Stone's "trust in her was misplaced," a line he eventually deleted.
Instead, he stressed that "these mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie." On Sunday and into Monday, Dana and the publication were also facing criticism for not firing anyone over the episode.
Late Sunday, UVA President Teresa Sullivan released a statement that blasted Erdely's "irresponsible journalism," and said the story not only blamed some frat members of rape, but also portrayed other students as being "indifferent," and blaming some staff members as "manipulative and callous toward victims of sexual assault."