Michael Schumacher’s family awarded six-figure sum in damages after court battle over fake interview

22 May 2024, 20:12

Michael Schumacher's family have reportedly been awarded £170,239 in damages over a fake interview published by a German magazine.
Michael Schumacher's family have reportedly been awarded £170,239 in damages over a fake interview published by a German magazine. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Michael Schumacher’s family have been awarded a six-figure sum in damages after a fake interview was published by a German women’s magazine last year.

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In April last year, Die Aktuelle published a fake interview with the F1 legend, who has not been seen since he suffered life-threatening injuries in the French Alps in 2013.

The magazine presented the 'interview' as Schumacher’s first since his skiing accident.

It later emerged that the ‘interview’ had been created using AI.

The piece featured a photo of Schumacher smiling on their front cover, accompanied by a headline claiming it was Schumacher’s “first interview” since his injury.

The article claimed that Schumacher could stand "by myself and even slowly walk a few steps" and also alleged that the star’s family were all “very sad” about his accident.

While the article featured no byline, an anonymous author later confirmed that the interview had been generated using AI.

The piece left Schumacher’s family outraged and they quickly initiated legal action against the magazine’s publisher, Funke Mediengruppe.

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Funke fired the magazine’s editor-in-chief Ann Hoffmann and issued an apology.

But now the publisher has reportedly been ordered to pay Schumacher’s family £170,239 in damages by the Munich labour court, according to Ubermedien.

The court also allegedly found Hoffmann’s dismissal as “not legally valid” as she successfully argued against wrongful termination, the outlet added.

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

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