Fake Michael Schumacher article backlash as editor fired in ugly fallout

The fallout to the 'fake' article on iconic F1 driver continues.

German magazine Die Aktuelle and Michael Schumacher smiling.
German magazine Die Aktuelle (pictured left) has stood down their editor in chief of 14 years stood over the Michael Schumacher article fallout. (Images: Twitter/Getty Images)

The fallout to the bizarre 'fake' article on F1 icon Michael Schumacher from German magazine Die Aktuelle has continued with the editor in chief of 14 years stood down over the backlash. Schumacher, widely regarded as the greatest driver in F1 history, suffered catastrophic head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps in 2013.

His condition has remained a mystery with family and friends providing little to no updates since the accident. His wife Corrina has kept the 54-year-old's condition private as fans wait for any information released on the Ferrari icon.

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However, last week, a magazine sparked uproar after claiming to have the first exclusive interview with the motorsport icon, whose smiling face was plastered over the front cover of the publication. The magazine sold it as "the first interview” he'd given since the accident and added: “No meagre, nebulous half-sentences from friends. But answers from him! By Michael Schumacher, 54!”

Although fans were left outraged when at the bottom of the article the magazine explained that they actually used artificial intelligence - an AI chatbot, reported to be - to generate the responses to their questions. The fallout was swift with the magazine blasted for the 'disgusting' article.

Schumacher's family are reportedly ready to take legal action over the article. And in a fresh development, the magazine has apologised to the family and announced the editor in chief has been stood down from her role.

"This article was in bad taste and misleading and should never have appeared," director Bianca Pohlmann said in a statement. "It does not meet in any way the standards of journalism that we — and our readers — expect of a group like Funke.

"The editor in chief of 'Die Aktuelle', Anne Hoffmann, who has been in charge since 2009, has been relieved of her role as of now."

Quotes from the supposed interview with Schumacher include: “My life has completely changed 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. I’ve had a tough time but the hospital team has managed to bring me back to my family.”

Michael Schumacher embrace his wife Corrina.
Michael Schumacher (pictured left) and his wife Corrina (pictured right) after competing in his 200th Grand Prix. (Photo by Getty Images)

Michael Schumacher's condition remains private

In a 2021 Netlfix documentary, Schumacher's wife Corrina explained why they have been keeping his condition private since the horror accident in 2013.

"Private is private', as he always said," Corinna Schumacher said. "Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael."

Schumacher shares the record with the most F1 titles with seven, which Lewis Hamilton equalled. He has the second most grand prix victories with 91. Schumacher's son, Mick, also races in the F1 as a reserve driver for Mercedes.

with AFP

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