Freelance writer Ruth Shalit Barrett sues The Atlantic for $1 million

Amid controversy that caught DC media circles and prompted further review of the article including by Erik Wemple The Atlantic formally withdrew the article from the Washington Post.

Barrett alleges in her complaint that she has been “unlawfully defamed” for “acting in accordance with the law and the ethical principles of journalism” and is seeking $ 1 million in damages for defamation and related complaints.

The long article, titled “The Mad, Mad World of Niche Sports Among Ivy League-Obsessed Parents,” came under fire for inventing a child who didn’t exist. Barrett said in her lawsuit that the admission was necessary to conceal the identity of minors and a parent quoted in the article.

The editor’s note accompanying the article also noted that Barrett left a position at The New Republic in 1999 on allegations of plagiarism. The magazine said it could “not confirm the trustworthiness and credibility of the author and therefore we cannot confirm the accuracy of the article”.

After retiring the article after it was found Barrett was “complicit” in the decision to include the fictional child, and after a four-week internal investigation, the magazine stated that “the most serious errors have occurred in the author selection and review process “And that it” carries out reforms to fix flaws in our systems “.

“It was a grave mistake and misjudgment on my part to allow Sloane to claim this son, but my intentions have been honorable,” said Barrett told the New York Times after the controversy.

In her lawsuit, Barrett denies the magazine’s characterization of the circumstances that led to her departure from The New Republic. In the lawsuit, she further states that Wemple “targeted” her with an “ongoing mud slaughter and defamation campaign”. Wemple is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Barrett has worked in advertising since leaving the New Republic, writing features for Elle and New York Magazines in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

The former Atlantic editor Donald Peck is also named as a defendant. In a statement, The Atlantic spokeswoman Anna Bross said: “We stand by our full retraction and the November 2020 editor’s note. We fully reject the allegations and believe the lawsuit is unfounded, we will motion to dismiss and are confident that we will do so. “ultimately enforce.”

“I am not in command of any allegation against me at this point, but I am very committed to the work we have done on this. Obviously she has a problem with The Atlantic and I have not yet come to a conclusion on this particular matter, ”Wemple told POLITICO in a short telephone interview on Saturday afternoon.

“I covered this story in great depth and asked The Atlantic for an explanation of why certain things about the story came up a bit, and that’s exactly what I do as a media critic,” added Wemple.

He stressed that he was still in the process of examining the details of the 106-page complaint.

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