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German magazine publishes fake Michael Schumacher ‘exclusive interview’

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Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher. Photo/Hello Magazine
  • Die Aktuelle, a German magazine is facing a legal suit from the Schumacher family
  • It published a fake story about an exclusive interview with Michael Schumacher
  • It will be the second time the Schumacher family is going to a legal battle with the magazine

Die Aktuelle, a German magazine is facing a legal suit over a front cover ‘exclusive interview’ allegedly with F1 legend Michael Schumacher yet it generated his quotes from artificial intelligence.

Schumacher’s family say that it’s planning to move to court to sue the magazine which plastered a photo of the Formula One legend on the cover before admitting that it used AI to generate quotes.

Die Aktuelle claimed that this was the first mega interview that Schumacher was giving since his December 2013 skiing accident in the French Alpines.

He was in a medically induced coma for the longest time and has never appeared in public ever since. The seven-time F1 champion lives with his wife Corinna Schumacher at their Lake Geneva home and a team of doctors and nurses take care of him.

Die Aktuelle reports that the former F1 driver had granted an exclusive interview rapidly made headlines because his family has kept him off the public since the accident.

Michael Schumacher Die Aktuelle

The front cover of the ‘exclusive interview Michael Schumacher had with Die Aktuelle

The Schumacher family, who are fiercely protective of his privacy, told Reuters on Thursday that they were preparing to file a lawsuit against the German magazine.

WHAT DID DIE AKTUELLE WRITE ABOUT MICHAEL SCHUMACHER?

The magazine’s subheading on the main page, sounded deceptively real and it sparked a barrage of enquiries.

To make it more believable, it came with sweetened article opener that no one would doubt.

“Talk to him once. Ask him how he’s really doing. And finally got answers almost ten years after his tragic skiing accident. No meagre, nebulous half-sentences from friends. But answers from him! By Michael Schumacher, 54!

“Here it is – the incredible interview! With redeeming answers to the most burning questions the whole world has been asking for so long,” read the opener.

The story, which lacks a byline, finishes with an acknowledgement that the quotes are, in reality, fabrications and that neither the magazine nor Schumacher or any members of his family were contacted.

WHAT DID DIE AKTUELLE CLAIM MICHAEL SCHUMACHER SAID IN THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW?

Here is the alleged verbatim from Schumacher who the magazine later admitted never spoke to it but used AI software to get the quotes.

“My life has changed completely since [the accident]. That was a horrible time for my wife, my children and the whole family.

I was so badly injured that I lay for months in a kind of artificial coma because otherwise, my body couldn’t have dealt with it all.  Much better than years ago. With the help of my team, I can even stand on my own again and even walk a few steps slowly.

My family and children have been a blessing to me and without them, I would not have been in business. Of course, they are very sad about how everything went, but unfortunately, that’s life and I just have to endure the fact that things sometimes go badly. They support me and stand fast at my side.”

Corinna Schumacher

Corinna Schumacher with Michael Schumacher. Photo/Nine’s Wide World of Sports

The magazine was criticised by F1 fans for its “lack of decency” and “shame” in claiming to have spoken to Schumacher.

This won’t be the first time the Schumacher family is going for the Magazine. In 2015, Corinna tried to sue Die Aktuelle for €50,000 (£42,300), but she was unsuccessful in court.

Corinna’s suit followed a Corinna with the caption, “Corinna Schumacher – a new love makes her happy.” However, it was Gina-Maria, her daughter, who was the focus of the narrative.

Felix Damm, the family’s attorney, filed a lawsuit and claimed the front page was deceptive but the case was dismissed in court.

This time around, the Schumacher family says it will teach the German magazine a hard lesson.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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