Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher has received a compensation payment of 200,000 euros after German publication Die Aktuelle released a fake interview with him using AI. Wikimedia Commons

Michael Schumacher's family won €200,000 (£170,212) in compensation after a magazine published a fake interview with the F1 legend, created using artificial intelligence (AI).

In April 2023, Schumacher's image graced the front cover of the German publication Die Aktuelle, emblazoned with the headline "Michael Schumacher, the first interview."

Despite a small disclaimer on the cover claiming the interview "sounded deceptively real," the publication still misled readers with Schumacher's image and the headline "The first interview."

Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher's AI generate interview. Twitter / Fastest Pitstop @FastestPitStop

The article itself appeared entirely fabricated, featuring quotes supposedly from Schumacher about his health and family – all generated by AI. It is worth noting that Schumacher has remained out of the public eye since his tragic skiing accident in the French Alps in December 2013.

From Champion to Tragedy

Since his devastating skiing accident, Schumacher's health has remained a closely guarded secret by his family. They've shared minimal details about his condition, but the German article blatantly disregarded their privacy.

The fabricated quotes attributed to Schumacher claimed he could stand with assistance and even take slow steps. "I can, with the help of my team, actually stand by myself and even slowly walk a few steps," the fake quotes read.

He expressed gratitude for his wife and children, saying, "My wife and my children were a blessing to me, and without them, I would not have managed it. Naturally, they are also very sad about how it has all happened. They support me and are standing firmly at my side."

This wasn't the first time privacy boundaries were crossed. Back in 2017, German celebrity magazine Bunte falsely reported a "Christmas miracle" recovery for the F1 star following his horrific 2013 skiing accident.

A report in 2023 revealed the Schumacher family's intent to sue the German publication for their deceptive AI-generated "interview" with the legendary F1 champion. Following the report, a spokesperson for the Schumacher family confirmed to Reuters that a €200,000 fine had been made against Funke Mediengruppe, the magazine's owners.

In the wake of the controversy, Mediengruppe apologised to the Schumacher family. The editor of Die Aktuelle was fired just two days after the article's publication. At the time, Bianca Pohlmann, Dunke's consultant and project manager, called the article tasteless and misleading.

The top executive said, "This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared. It does not correspond to the standards of journalism that we — and our readers — expect from a publisher like Funke."

"As a result of the publication of this article, immediate personnel consequences will be drawn. Die Aktuelle editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann, who has held journalistic responsibility for the paper since 2009, will be relieved of her duties today," she added (via Deadline).

Michael Schumacher's Condition

Schumacher suffered a horrific skiing accident in December 2013. The head injury he sustained was severe and put his life in jeopardy. After this life-altering skiing accident, Schumacher was placed in a medically induced coma and remained hospitalised until returning home in September 2014.

Reports indicate that the severity of Michael Schumacher's injuries left him with lasting effects. His family prioritises his privacy, so details are scarce, but some reports suggest he's no longer the same person he once was.

Schumacher's wife, Corinna, explains how he always protected his family. Now, as she says, it's their turn to return the favour and protect him in his time of need.

Given his close ties as Schumacher's former Ferrari boss and a dear friend, Jean Todt remains the only credible source for updates on Michael's health. Todt frequently visits the family, and in a recent interview, he mentioned enjoying watching Grands Prix with Michael. While acknowledging the accident's impact, Todt's continued visits suggest his unwavering support for his friend.