CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (AP) – Three friends of an alleged victim of gang rape at the University of Virginia say a magazine article wrongly portrayed them as uncaring students who were more concerned about their reputations than her well-being.
The friends told The Associated Press that the Rolling Stone article, which was retracted soon after its publication, was wrong on a number of key points, especially its assertion that they urged the victim to not report the attack.
Their alleged indifference was woven into a narrative that used the alleged attack to paint a picture of a culture of sexual violence on college campuses in the United States. The article set off an intense debate about how universities handle sexual assault as well as how media outlets handle such allegations.
One of the friends, a 20-year-old, third-year student referred to as “Randall” in the Rolling Stone article but whose real name is Ryan Duffin, told the AP that not only did he encourage the alleged victim to go to police, but he started to dial police on his phone until she said she just wanted to go back to her dorm and go to sleep.
The AP also spoke with the other two friends portrayed in the article: third-year, 20-year-old students Kathryn Hendley and Alex Stock, known as “Cindy” and “Andy” in the article. None of the three friends was contacted by Rolling Stone’s reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, before the article was published; each of them rejected multiple assertions made in the article.
All three say Erdely has since reached out to them, and that she has told them she is re-reporting the story. Hendley told the AP Erdely apologised to her for portraying her the way she did.