An ‘exclusive interview’ with F1 superstar Schumacher, who has not been seen publicly since a near-fatal skiing accident was depicted on the front cover of a German outlet
A magazine has been labeled ‘disgraceful’ by fans online after using an artificial intelligence program to produce fake quotes from Michael Schumacher – before depicting the response as an “exclusive interview” on their front cover.
The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has not been seen publicly since suffering a near-fatal brain injury while skiing in December 2013 in Meribel, France.
His wife Corinna has insisted on protecting Schumacher’s privacy in the nine years since, with his medical condition shrouded in secrecy as he continues to recover at home in Switzerland.
Yet German outlet Die Aktuelle has sparked a backlash online after plastering Schumacher’s face on their 15 April front cover, with “exclusive interview” as the accompanying tag.
The magazine stated that it was “the first interview” Schumacher has given since his accident, adding: “No meager, nebulous half-sentences from friends. But answers from him! By Michael Schumacher, 54!”
Quotes from the piece, purporting to be from 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 mabroughte back to my family.”
Yet at the end of the article, the outlet reveals that theyn AI chatbot, reportwhich was reported aster.ai, to generate the answers.
German media commentator Boris Rosenkranz insisted the piece was “too stupid to be true” in a comment article.
Die Aktuelle won a court battle in 2015 with Corinna Schumacher, Michael’s wife, after the magazine used a picture with Corinna on the front cover, headlined: “Corinna Schumacher – a new love makes her happy.”
The story was about their daughter, Gina, but the lawsuit on the grounds of the cover being “misleading” was dismissed.
Another Schumacher-related article from the outlet, in 2014, put Michael and Corinna on the front cover with the title ‘Awake’ – yet the piece was focused on individuals who have woken up from a coma, as opposed to Schumacher himself.
Speaking to Italian outlet Corriere della Sera last month, former Ferrari boss Jean Todt dismissed the notion that various people know about Schumacher’s health and called for people to respect the family’s privacy.
“Let’s leave them alone,” the 77-year-old Frenchman said.
“We respect the privacy wishes of Corinna and her children, we know that that accident had consequences.
“Anyone who says he knows something, he knows nothing. I always go to see him. He and his family are my families.”