A German magazine has been labeled ‘stupid’ after promoting an ‘exclusive interview’ with Michael Schumacher on the front cover of their latest issue – only to later reveal that the fake quotes were generated via artificial intelligence (AI).
Schumacher suffered a skiing accident in December 2013 and fell into an induced coma. He has not appeared in public since then.
The former Formula 1 driver – who won seven world championships – is being cared for by a team of medical staff and his wife Corinna at their home on Lake Geneva.
A secret remains about his condition and so heads turned when the German magazine Die Aktuelle revealed an ‘exclusive interview’ with the stricken driver.
The front cover, dated April 15, 2023, featured the exclusive label and a photo of a smiling Schumacher. They further claimed that it is “the first interview” he has given since his skiing accident.
The German magazine Die Aktuelle claimed to have an “exclusive interview” with Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher (pictured in 2005) has not been in public since a skiing accident in 2013
The Schumacher family is very protective of his privacy and so questions were immediately raised, especially given the ‘it sounds deceptively real’ tag that also appeared on the cover.
The article opens: ‘Have a talk with him. Ask him how he’s really doing. And finally got answers almost 10 years after his tragic skiing accident.
“No thin, vague half-sentences from friends. But answers from him! By Michael Schumacher, 54!
‘Here it is – the incredible interview! With redeeming answers to the most pressing questions that the whole world has been asking for so long.’
The article, which has no byline, continues before ending with an admission that the quotes are in fact fake and that they did not speak to Schumacher or anyone in the family.
Did Michael Schumacher really say everything himself? The interview was online. On a page that has to do with artificial intelligence, or AI for short,” the now widely derided piece concludes.
F1 fans immediately slammed the magazine for its “lack of decency” and the “shame” of claiming to have spoken to Schumacher.
German media expert Boris Rosenkranz wrote a comment piece label the stunt ‘Too stupid to be true’.
They would eventually state that the quotes were generated by artificial intelligence
Schumacher’s wife Corinna (pictured skiing together in 2005) has kept his condition private
It’s the same magazine that Corinna Schumacher tried to claim a €50,000 (£42,300) payout from in 2015 before losing the lawsuit.
In 2015, the magazine used a photo of Corinna on its front cover with the headline: “Corinna Schumacher – a new love makes her happy.”
The story was actually about her daughter, Gina Maria, and the family attorney, Felix Damm, filed a lawsuit claiming the front page was misleading. It was ultimately rejected.
A year earlier, the magazine had a photo of Michael and Corinna on the front cover with the headline “Awake,” drawing widespread criticism.
The headline was not related to Schumacher, but related to other individuals who had awakened from a coma. Nevertheless, it was condemned as tasteless.
Last month, Eddie Jordan claimed that Corinna, Schumacher’s wife, has been living “like a prisoner” to keep his condition a secret.
Jordan revealed last year that his plans to visit Schumacher had been rejected by the family.
In a rare interview for a documentary about Michael’s life, Corinna opened up about her situation
In 2014, the magazine was criticized for running the headline ‘Awake’ over a photo of Schumacher and his wife Corinna. It turned out that the headline had nothing to do with Schumacher, but about other people who had awakened from a coma.
Corinna has been shy about speaking publicly about her husband, but did shed some light on her struggles in a documentary about his life that will air in 2022.
Michael is here. Different, but he is there and that gives us strength, I think,” Corinna said earlier.
‘We are together. We live together at home. We do therapy. We are doing everything we can to make Michael better and make sure he is comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond.
“And whatever happens, I will do everything I can. We all will. We try to continue as a family, as Michael liked and still does. And we move on with our lives.
“Private is private,” as he used to say. I think it is very important that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible.
“Michael always protected us, and now we protect Michael.”
Schumacher is one of the most successful F1 drivers of all time, having won seven world titles: 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.
He also added 71 fastest laps and 155 podiums to his name during his iconic racing career.
Eddie Jordan (right) claims Schumacher’s wife (left) Corinna lives ‘like a prisoner’ as she tries to keep her husband’s condition private after a skiing accident in 2013
Mick Schumacher (left), with his mother Corinna (right) and sister Gina-Maria (centre)
His son Mick is now a reserve driver for Mercedes, having been sacked from Haas F1 last summer.
In 2019, the Schumacher family released an update on his 50th birthday assuring his millions of fans that they are doing “everything humanly possible” to help him recover.
In 2020, it was rumored that he would undergo stem cell surgery, but it was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last September, Zurich-based neurology specialist Professor Erich Riederer told a documentary for French TV channel TMC that he doubted the racing legend would ever make a full recovery.
He said, “I think he’s in a vegetative state, which means he’s awake but unresponsive. He’s breathing, his heart is beating, he can probably sit up with help and take baby steps, but nothing more.’