In the November issue, The Atlantic published “The Mad, Mad World of Niche Sports Among Ivy League–Obsessed Parents.” After we published this article, new information emerged that raised serious concerns about its accuracy, and about the credibility of the author, Ruth Shalit Barrett.
As we shared with our readers on TheAtlantic.com on November 1, we have decided to retract this article. We cannot attest to the trustworthiness and credibility of the author, and therefore we cannot attest to the veracity of the piece in its entirety.
We have established that Barrett deceived The Atlantic and its readers about a section of the story that concerns a person referred to as “Sloane.” The article (a PDF of which you can access on our website) stated that Sloane has a son. Before publication, Sloane confirmed this detail with The Atlantic’s fact-checking department. After publication, when a Washington Post media critic asked us about the accuracy of portions of the article, our fact-checking department reached out to Sloane to recheck certain details. Through her attorney, Sloane informed us that she does not have a son, a fact we then independently corroborated.
Sloane’s attorney told The Atlantic that Sloane had misled the magazine because she had wanted to make herself less readily identifiable—and that Barrett had proposed the invention of a son as a way to protect her anonymity.