German magazine editor fired for fake Michael Schumacher interview

German magazine editor fired for fake Michael Schumacher interview

German magazine editor fired for fake Michael Schumacher interview

The editor of a German magazine who published what he described as a “world sensation” interview with retired Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher but used answers written by artificial intelligence, has fired the editor of the magazine and apologized to Mr. Schumacher’s family.

Mr Schumacher, 54, retired from public life after suffering a brain injury in a skiing accident nearly a decade ago, and his family have been fiercely protective of his privacy ever since. The cover of the April 15 issue of the famous Die Aktuelle magazine promoted the interview with Mr. Schumacher, who is German, as his first since the accident: “das erste interview”.

The cover included the words “It looks deceptively real”, hinting that the interview may not have been what it seemed.

Inside the magazine, quotes from Mr Schumacher about his family and his health appeared alongside photos of him smiling and photos of his children. The article explained that all quotes attributed to Mr. Schumacher had been generated by artificial intelligence.

Mr Schumacher’s family have been known to keep their health private since he hit his head against a rock while skiing in Méribel, a resort in the French Alps, in December 2013. Doctors told the time when his condition was serious and he was “fighting for his life”. Few details about his condition have since emerged.

Sabine Kehm, spokeswoman for Mr Schumacher’s family, said in an email on Monday that the family planned to take legal action against Die Aktuelle.

Funke Media Group, which publishes Die Aktuelle, apologized to the family in a statement Friday and said the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Anne Hoffmann, had been fired because of the article. She had run the magazine since 2009, according to the statement. Reports that Mr Schumacher’s family were planning to take legal action first emerged before Ms Hoffmann was released.

“This vulgar and misleading article should never have been published,” Funke Media Group chief executive Bianca Pohlmann said in an emailed statement, adding that it did not meet the journalistic standards of the agency. business “in whatever form we and our readers expect”. from a publisher like Funke.

When Mr Schumacher retired in 2012 he was the most successful Formula 1 driver in history. He won the world championship a record seven times and won a record 91 Grand Prix races.

Those feats were matched only by Lewis Hamilton, the British driver who equaled Mr. Schumacher’s record of seven championships in 2020. That same year, Mr. Hamilton surpassed Mr. Schumacher’s Grand Prix record, and he won a total of 103 races.

Mr Schumacher’s son, Mick Schumacher, is also a Formula 1 driver, serving as a reserve driver for Mr Hamilton’s Mercedes team after two seasons with the Haas team.

Little information about Michael Schumacher’s life after the skiing accident has been made public. His family said in September 2014 that they had moved him from a hospital to the family estate in Gland, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

His wife, Corinna Schumacher, said in the 2021 documentary “Schumacher” that “everyone misses Michael, but Michael is here.”

“Different, but it’s there, and it gives us strength, I think,” she said.

“We are together, we live together at home,” Ms Schumacher said. “We’re doing therapy, we’re doing everything we can to improve Michael and make sure he’s comfortable, and just to make him feel like our family, our connection.”


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