Sabrina Rubin Erdely, disgraced author of the infamous Rolling Stone story about a brutal University of Virginia fraternity house gang rape — which is infamous because, you know, it was an enthusiastically published lie — took time out of what I assume is her new career selling makeup on Facebook from home to testify in a defamation lawsuit against herself and Rolling Stone, filed by Nicole Eramo, a former UVA dean and one of the article’s chief antagonists.
During her testimony last week, Erdely offered several compelling reasons for why Jackie Coakley, the subject of the story and now noted crazy liar, seemed credible.
From NBC 29:
On the stand Saturday, Erdely recalled the night she, Jackie and others walked by the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house, when Jackie broke down and had to leave. Erdely testified, “I knew it was genuine.”
When asked what she meant by “genuine,” Erdely continued, “Her tears were real. They were genuine. I tasted them and they were real. A lot of times, when people are faking, they’ll turn away real quick and put spit under their eyes, or maybe use water from a drink they’re holding. But I was all like, ‘Hooooollllld on, there, Jackie, I’m a real, ethical journalist, and I’m gonna need to lick your tears to see if what’s going on right now is legit.’ And after I confirmed she was actually crying, I knew every single thing she said was absolutely true.”
I kind of wish the lawyer would have followed up with, “Are you in any way medically, psychologically, or academically qualified to determine whether or not a person’s emotional reaction to anything is genuine.” To which I assume Erdely would’ve begun to respond, “No, but–” and the attorney would’ve stopped her, saying, “Nah I’m good with that you can stop right there.”
Actually, that sort of did happen at a different point in the testimony. Via C-Ville:
Didn’t Erdely realize that Jackie had PTSD? Locke [Nicole Eramo’s attorney] demanded.
“I’m not a doctor,” replied Erdely.
Or a good journalist! Or an employed one.
A few of Erdely’s impressive journalistic standards for fact verification were on display during her testimony, actually.
Erdely spoke about going into the fraternity house after Jackie left, to verify the layout of the house was as Jackie described. She said, “It was the way she had described it.”
There’s a Chick-fil-A by our office. The main entrance is in the middle of the building’s west side. When you walk in, the line to order is directly in front of you, with the cash registers just ahead and off to the right. To the far left, behind a glass wall and through a glass door, is the children’s play place. Between the entrance and the play place there is dining room seating. To the right is a long, narrow-ish hallway full of more dining room seating, made up of both booths and tables. Past them are the restrooms.
So anyway one time when I was in that Chick-fil-A a ghost kicked me in the balls and stole my wallet. Visit the restaurant and you’ll see that my description of the Chick-fil-A is perfect so you can go ahead and just believe everything else I told you, and you definitely don’t need to talk to anyone who works at that Chick-fil-A, or even figure out whether or not ghosts are real. Plus I have three other people who I told about the ghost kicking me in the balls and stealing my wallet. Ask them. They’ll totally confirm that I told them about the ghost punting my scrotum and stealing my money. So we’re good here, right? We’re all on the same page that a ghost definitely, for sure kicked me in the balls and then robbed me? Because I know what the inside of that Chick-fil-A looks like? Perfect.
Erdely’s coup de grâce, though, was this gem:
Pressed whether she stands by the story, Erdely didn’t hesitate.
“I stand by everything in the article that did not come from Jackie.”
Erdely continued, “For example, the University of Virginia is, in fact, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Which I wrote. And Phi Kappa Psi is totally a fraternity. I also wrote that. So I mean there was a lot of true stuff in there, IMO.”
Okay, to be fair, Erdely and Rolling Stone contend that the story was about rape culture on college campuses and administrative failure to help victims. It was a broad story about many things. It definitely wasn’t a furiously driving narrative about an incredibly specific and outstanding instance of sexual assault titled “A Rape on Campus.” I mean, right?
Oh fuck that’s exactly what it was.
And also, Jackie Coakley was the source of basically all of Erdely’s information for the story. The friends of Jackie with whom Erdely spoke weren’t even at Phi Psi when the alleged assault happened. They could only confirm that Jackie told them a story similar to the one she told Erdely. And she didn’t talk to ANY of the Phi Psi members. Though, in fairness, Erdely wouldn’t have been able to interview the rape’s alleged ringleader, Haven Monahan, because he literally doesn’t exist and was invented by Jackie. That’d be a toughie for any journalist.
I’m almost impressed by how desperately she’s clinging to this. I’ve definitely held onto lies I’ve told in the face of complete and embarrassing exposure. Granted, those lies usually involve people angrily asking who got drunk and puked in the laundry machine, not falsely accusing innocent college kids of rape because the story was juicy and fit my worldview so perfectly that it was impossible for me to question it.
I’ll tell ya what, Sabrina. Since you have a lot of time on your hands (when you’re not testifying in court because of your dogshit article), TFM will totally hire you if you promise to do hatchet jobs on the people we hate. For your first story I’m thinking something about how Bernie Sanders likes to smash baby rabbits with sledge hammers. I know it sounds pretty out there. Some would even say impossible to believe. But hey that’s right up your alley..