Last year, Rolling Stone published a damning article detailing a rape which purportedly occurred at the University of Virginia's Phi Kappa Psi house in 2012. The story quickly unraveled, eventually leading to a three-month investigative report from Columbia University citing a clear "systematic failure" that was entirely "avoidable." Rolling Stone complied with these findings by publishing the investigative report, though additional disciplinary action for the article's chief participants was not taken.
Just days after news broke that the UVA's Associate Dean Nicole Eramo filed a $7.5 million defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone earlier this week, actor Ed Helms used his UVA speech to directly address Rolling Stone's actions. "It's been said that a rolling stone gathers no moss," Helms said. "I would add that sometimes a rolling stone also gathers no verifiable facts or even the tiniest morsels of journalistic integrity."
Helms added that the publication's actions temporarily rendered the constant struggle to address sexual violence on campuses nationwide "suddenly more confusing and needlessly set back." Broadening the issue, Helms also criticized the media at large for its incessant, misguided reliance on the word 'thug' when reporting on the Baltimore and Ferguson protests. "These reductive labels aren't helping," Helms said.