July 29, 2016—Professor Eugene Volokh was quoted in an article by The Columbia Journal Reporter, which was then cited by Business Insider and other news outlets, on suits filed against Rolling Stone after the magazine published a 9,000 word story “A Rape on Campus,” which detailed an alleged rape that occurred at the University of Virginia which has since been proven to be fictitious. Rolling Stone is currently facing three defamation cases—one from the UVA chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity named in the story, another from three individual members of the fraternity, and another from a UVA administrator who handles cases of sexual assault. Professor Volokh provided insight on what Phi Kappa Psi might need to argue in order to make the strongest case against the magazine.
“If someone said, ‘[There’s this] bar, people routinely get raped in this bar.’ Is that libel of the bar? You’re not accusing the bar of rape, to be sure, but you are accusing the bar of being a dangerous place that maybe allows dangerous patrons or dangerous employees. And the likely consequence of that is that the bar will lose business,” said Professor Volokh.