Michael Schumacher’s family awarded sizeable compensation package for fake AI ‘exclusive’

Michelle Foster
Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher looks on.

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher looks on.

Michael Schumacher’s family has been awarded €200,000 after suing a German publication for a fake AI-generated interview that they claimed was with the seven-time World Champion.

Last year German publication Die Aktuelle published an edition that featured a picture of the Formula 1 legend under the banner headline “Michael Schumacher, The First Interview, World Sensation”.

Michael Schumacher’s family sued over ‘fake’ interview

The fine print underneath read: “It sounds deceptively real.”

The publication faced widespread condemnation for the AI-generated interview as Schumacher’s family has protected his privacy since his skiing accident at the end of 2013.

Taking legal action against Die Aktuelle and its publishing group Funke Magazines, editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann was fired while Funke managing director Bianca Pohlmann apologised for the “tasteless” article.

“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,” she said in a statement.

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Schumacher’s family has now been awarded a settlement of €200,000, confirmed by the Munich Labour Court, to be paid by Funke Magazines.

Schumacher’s family has been fiercely protective of his privacy since his accident with the family’s lawyer Felix Dam explaining to German media outlet LTO the reasoning.

“It was always about protecting private things,” he said. “We considered whether a final report about Michael’s health could be the right way to do this.

“But that wouldn’t have been the end of it and there would have had to be constantly updated ‘water level reports’ and it would not have been up to the family when the media interest in the story stopped.”

But while the family has not said much publicly, last year Schumacher’s son Mick, a former Haas F1 driver, shared some insight into his feelings in the five-part documentary series “Being Michael Schumacher”.

“I think dad and me, we would understand each other now in a different way now, simply because we speak a similar language, the language of motorsport… I would give up everything just for that,” he said.

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