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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Tom Blow

Magazine editor fired after faked Michael Schumacher 'interview' sparked fury

An editor has been sacked for claiming to have conducted an exclusive interview with stricken Formula 1 icon Michael Schumacher.

German magazine Die Aktuelle caused outrage after publishing an article containing fake quotes from Schumacher. The seven-time world champion has not conducted any interviews since suffered a severe brain injury during a skiing accident in December 2013.

The fake quotes were generated using artificial intelligence (AI). Schumacher's family has tried to keep the retired driver's medical condition under wraps and is planning legal action against Die Aktuelle. The magazine's publishers have apologised to Schumacher's family and readers, calling the piece a "tasteless and misleading article".

Die Aktuelle caused a stir when their April 15 edition of the magazine featured a photo of Schumacher smiling broadly on the front cover. That image is accompanied by a headline claiming they had a "first interview" with the driving legend since his injury.

Yet another front cover tagline claims the article "sounds deceptively real" - hinting at the use of AI. The article, which features no byline, seems like a genuine interview until the anonymous author confirms the quotes were generated using AI.

The article claims Schumacher can stand "by myself and even slowly walk a few steps". It also insists the stricken star's family are all "very sad" about his accident. There is no indication that any of the claims in Die Akutelle's controversial article are true.

Michael Schumacher suffered a head injury in December 2013 and his wife Corinna cares for him (AFP via Getty Images)

What did you make Die Akutelle's article? Let us know in the comments below!

The saga has angered thousands of F1 fans and Schumacher's family. Die Akutelle's publishers Funke Magazines have responded by firing editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann.

"This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared," said Bianca Pohlmann, the managing director of Funke Magazines. "It in no way corresponds to the standards of journalism that we - and our readers - expect from a publisher like Funke."

Schumacher is one of F1's greatest drivers after winning the world title in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. He retired in 2012 and suffered his skiing accident a year. He returned to his home to continue his recovery in September 2014.

Schumacher's family have rarely spoken about his condition since December 2013, but they did release a Netflix documentary about him in September 2021. "We live together at home," said Schumacher's wife Corinna in the documentary. "We do therapy.

"We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he's comfortable and to simply make him feel our family, our bond. We're trying to carry on as a family, the way Michael liked it and still does. And we are getting on with our lives.

"'Private is private', as he always said. It's very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible. Michael always protected us, and now we are protecting Michael."

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