November 07, 2016

The Hollywood Reporter quotes Alex Weingarten about Rolling Stone's defamation verdict

1 min

Venable partner Alex Weingarten was quoted in a November 7, 2016, article in The Hollywood Reporter about a defamation verdict against Rolling Stone magazine. A jury ruled in favor of the dean of the University of Virginia who the magazine portrayed in an unfavorable light in a since discredited story about an alleged gang rape on campus. The jury found that Rolling Stone did not act with actual malice when they originally published the article, but a second version of the article posted online a few weeks later with an editor’s note apologizing for holes in the original article constituted republication.

"The message here is: don't apologize," said Weingarten. "I don't see how you could have the apology be effective without putting it in the proper context and saying what it was in response to." Commenting on an expected appeal by Rolling Stone, Weingarten added, "There's a tremendous balancing that needs to go into a verdict of this nature because of the effect it will have on national policy…If freedom of the press is stifled, it's a direct threat to our democracy."