Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana only has a matter of days left at the magazine, the New York Times wrote in an exclusive report Wednesday. He will leave Rolling Stone months after the magazine withdrew an erroneous story about a reputed gang rape at the University of Virginia.
Dana worked with the magazine for nearly 20 years, but simply said it was “time to move on” in a statement released to the Times. “It has been a great ride and I loved it even more than I imagined I would. I am as excited to see where the magazine goes next as I was in the summer of 1978 when I bought my first issue,” he said.
A definitive reason was not given for Dana’s leave, but “many factors go into a decision like this,” Rolling Stone’s publisher, Jann S. Wenner, told the Times. Dana’s last day is set for Aug. 7. He did not leave for another job, which makes it seem like the contentious article played a part in his departure. Dana was “one of the finest editors I have ever worked with,” Wenner said.
Fine as he may be, Dana and Rolling Stone were criticized for the 2014 article titled “A Rape on Campus,” which was ultimately debunked. The story claimed there was a gang rape at a fraternity party at Virginia, but Charlottesville, Virginia, police never found a basis for the supposed assault. The article only cited one source, a student with one name: “Jackie.”
Dana’s departure comes on the same day three graduates filed a defamation lawsuit in New York against the magazine, its publisher Wenner Media and Sabrina Erdely, the journalist who wrote the article, Reuters reported Wednesday. The three men, who graduated in 2013, were members of Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity cited in the fictitious story. They want damages for infliction of emotional distress and defamation, the lawsuit said.
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella