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

Amid the controversy that has gripped media circles in the capital, leading to further validation of the article including by Eric Wemble of The Washington Post, The Atlantic has officially retracted the article.

In her complaint, Barrett asserts that she was “unlawfully defamed” for “acting in accordance with the law and the ethical principles of the profession of journalism,” and is seeking $1 million in damages for defamation and related complaints.

The long article titled “The Mad, Mad World of Specialized Sports Among Ivy League-obsessed Parents” was criticized for inventing a child that didn’t even exist. In her suit, Barrett says the inclusion was necessary to conceal the identities of the minors and the parents mentioned in the article.

An editor’s note attached to the article also noted that Barrett left a position with The New Republic in 1999 under allegations of plagiarism. The magazine added that it “cannot attest to the credibility and credibility of the author, and therefore we cannot attest to the authenticity of the article.”

After retracting the article upon finding that 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 occurred in the author selection and audit process” and that he was “implementing reforms to address flaws in our systems.”

“Allowing Sloan to claim this son was a huge mistake and miscalculation on my part, but my intentions were honest,” Barrett told The New York Times following the controversy.

In her lawsuit, Barrett disputes the magazine’s description of the circumstances that led to her departure from The New Republic. In the lawsuit, she further stated that Wimble had “targeted” her with a “continued campaign of libel and slander”. Wemple is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Since leaving the New Republic, Barrett has worked in advertising and wrote articles for Elle and New York magazine in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

Former Atlantic editor Donald Beck is also mentioned as a defendant in the lawsuit. In a statement, The Atlantic spokeswoman, Anna Bruce, said: “We are committed to withdrawing our full and editor’s note from November 2020. We completely reject the allegations and believe the lawsuit is baseless and will file a motion to dismiss it, and we are confident we will. Ultimately prevail. “.

“I am not at this point responsible for every claim against me, but I stand very firmly behind the work we have done on the matter. She clearly has a lot of connections with The Atlantic and I haven’t gotten to know her,” Wimble told Politico in a brief phone interview on Saturday afternoon. yet to come to a conclusion on this particular issue.”

“I’ve done a lot of very in-depth reporting on that story and have lobbied The Atlantic for explanations on why certain things seem so little about the story and that’s what I do as a media critic,” Wimble added.

He confirmed that he is still in the process of evaluating the details of the complaint, which extends to 106 pages.

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