Claas Relotius wrote about 60 articles for the magazine and was the recipient of CNN’s 2014 “Journalist of the Year” award.
Relotius told Der Spiegel, “I am sick and I need to get help.”
Some of Relotius’ fabricated works include a phone interview with the parents of NFL player Colin Kaepernick, and a story about a woman in the U.S. who claimed to have witnessed executions of death row inmates.
Relotius also drew the fury of locals in Fergus Falls, Minn., after spending three weeks in town and fabricating facts, characters and quotes from people in an effort to portray the town in a negative light.
“What happened is beyond what I could have ever imagined: An article titled ‘Where they pray for Trump on Sundays,’ and endless pages of an insulting, if not hilarious, excuse for journalism,” wrote Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn who investigated Relotius’ Der Spiegel article about the town.
Both Anderson and Krohn went on to reveal that the article doesn’t contain any truth except for the town’s population, the average temperature, and names of the businesses or public figures.
Nearly everything else, including a coal plant employee named Neil Becker, who doesn’t actually exist, or quotes from a restaurant employee, who was falsely called the owner of a restaurant and whose son was given a fictional illness, was made up.
Relotius was first suspected of fabricating stories back in November when another reporter worked with him on a story about a border militia in Arizona.
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