---Logo of Bild.de of the Axel Springer AG photographed in Berlin, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns) (AP Photo/Franka Bruns)

Real fake news: German newspaper retracts bogus story about sexual assault by migrants

A story that claimed Arab men sexually assaulted women on New Year's Eve turns out to be bogus


Matthew Rozsa
February 23, 2017 1:35AM (UTC)

A German newspaper has apologized to its readers for printing a fake news story seemingly rooted in xenophobia.

Bild is "emphatically" apologizing for an article which claimed that a group of Arab men had committed sexually assault against women at a restaurant in Frankfurt on New Year's Eve, according to a report by The New York Times. Although there had been New Year's Eve attacks in Cologne 12 months earlier, there is no evidence that similar attacks occurred this year.

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The initial article quoted cafe owner Jan Mai alleging that roughly 50 "Arab-looking men" had sexually assaulted women in the bustling German city, including one woman identified as Irina A.

"The editorial staff of Bild emphatically apologizes for this untrue report and the allegations that it made against those concerned," the newspaper said in a statement on Tuesday. "This reporting in no way reflects the journalistic standards of Bild."

With a circulation of 2.5 million, Bild is the most widely read newspaper in Germany.

This isn't the first time this week that xenophobia against Muslim migrants has resulted in the publication of fake news stories. Perhaps the most high profile incident occurred when President Donald Trump referred to Sweden "having problems like they never thought possible" after they "took in large numbers" of migrants. It was later revealed that Trump had based his claim off of a Fox News story that misquoted police officers and ignored statistics which strongly suggest that the new immigrants in Sweden have not caused a resulting upsurge in crime.

 


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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