Breitbart News apologized Sunday after using an image of soccer star Lukas Podolski to illustrate a story about migrants traveling to Spain on jet skis.
Last week, Breitbart published a story on its site by the newswire service Agence France-Presse that detailed how Spanish police shut down a gang that offered to ferry immigrants in Morocco to Spain via jet skis.
But the site used an image of the German national team star. It provoked outrage and bewilderment from many soccer fans who easily recognized Podolski, one of the most famous soccer players in the world, and led Breitbart to add an editor’s note to the story on Sunday.
“A previous version of this story included an image of Lukas Podolski on a jet ski,” the note said. “This image appeared as an illustration of a person on a jet ski. Breitbart London wishes to apologise to Mr. Podolski. There is no evidence Mr. Podolski is either a migrant gang member, nor being human trafficked. We wish Mr. Podolski well in his recently announced international retirement.”
Breitbart has long been known for its protectionist coverage of the immigrant crisis. Stories about immigrants who have committed serious crimes often receive front-page billing on the site with accompanying sensational headlines.