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Lukas Podolski

Breitbart apologized for using a soccer star’s photo to illustrate a human trafficking story

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Breitbart has apologized for using a photo of Germany soccer star Lukas Podolski to illustrate a recent story about human trafficking.

Podolski’s image appeared underneath the headline “Spanish police crack gang moving migrants on jet-skis” in the article published last Friday.

“A previous version of this story included an image of Lukas Podolski on a jet ski,” an editor’s note added to the story reads. “This image appeared as an illustration of a person on a jet ski.”

“Breitbart London wishes to apologise to Mr. Podolski,” the note adds. “There is no evidence Mr. Podolski is either a migrant gang member, nor being human trafficked.”

Breitbart additionally noted it wishes “Mr. Podolski well in his recently announced international retirement.”

Last Friday’s Breitbart article was actually an AFP report about Spanish police saying they had shut down a gang transporting migrants from Morocco to Spain on jet skis.

AFP reported that the gang charged riders 5,000 euros apiece to make the journey via the Strait of Gibraltar.

A police statement said the gang were making near daily trips to Spain from Morocco, covering the roughly 11-mile trip in about 10 minutes.

The original picture of Podolski used in the story, meanwhile, showed the German athlete flashing a peace sign while riding a jet ski.

Podolski was not photographed off the Spanish coast for the image, which was instead taken while the German national team was enjoying an off day during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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The star forward retired from professional soccer in March following his final game for the German national team.

Germany won the 2014 World Cup while Podolski was on the team’s roster, and he also played en route to third place finishes for the club in 2006 and 2010.

Friday’s article appeared the same day that Steve Bannon exited the White House, leaving his role as President Trump’s chief strategist.

Bannon has since returned to Breitbart as its executive chairman, having previously vacated that role to serve on Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

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