Newspaper reports of a mass sexual-assault by refugees and migrants in Frankfurt, Germany, on News Years Eve were ‘completely made up’ it has emerged.
The claims were made just days ago in a right-wing German tabloid and repeated in the Daily Express in the UK.
The Daily Express alleged that a ‘mass sex attack’ by over 900 drunk refugees led to women being sexually harassed.
It even had the same quotes as the German tabloid (Bild) that first run the false story:
One of the victims, Irina A., 27, said: “I can be happy that I wore sheer tights. They [the migrants] grabbed me under the skirt, between my legs, my breasts, everywhere. […]
Local pub owner Jan Mai said: “When I came in, the whole place was full with a group of around 50 Arabs. They did not speak German, drank our guests’ drink and danced towards them. The women asked me for help because they were being attacked. The mood changed completely.”
But the quotes were fabricated and the story was made up.
German police looked into the incident and say the allegations are “without foundation” and are investigating those who claimed to witness the incident.
The story was also deleted from the Bild’s website and its online editor in chief apologised for it yesterday.
The police told the press:
The interrogations of the witnesses, guests, and staff have created considerable doubts about the portrayal of events. […] A person allegedly affected by the actions was not in the city at all when the crime occurred.
But the Express is still carrying the story on its website and didn’t even bother checking its veracity.
(UPDATE: The Express has now changed the headline, to reflect the police denial, and some of the story text.)
This isn’t the first time a right-wing media outlet has run a story on crime by refugees that turned out to be false.
The far-right conspiracy site Breitbart falsely claimed that Muslim migrants had set alight Germany’s oldest church.
Other outlets have claimed a refugee who took a selfie with Angela Merkel had links to terrorists – a claim that also turned out to be false.
This is more than just misinformation, it is active hate-mongering