Right-wing news site Breitbart News has apologized to German football star Lukas Podolski after publishing a photo of the 32-year-old former international player accompanying a story about human traffickers operating between Morocco and Spain.
"Breitbart London wishes to apologize to Mr Podolski," stated Breitbart in an editor's note to the story, noting that a previous version of the story had included an image of Podolski on a jet ski.
"There is no evidence Mr Podolski is either a migrant gang member, nor being human trafficked," Breitbart said. "We wish Mr Podolski well in his recently announced international retirement."
U.S. President Donald Trump's former chief strategist and U.S. leading economic nationalist Steve Bannon last week returned to his old job as the website's executive editor after leaving the White House.
Published on Friday, the Breitbart article was headlined "Spanish Police Crack Gang Moving Migrants on Jet-Skis", reported how smugglers were charging 5,000 euros (5,900 dollars) for transporting each refugee from Morocco to Spain, which is a member of the European Union.
The original photo that accompanied the story showed Podolski in sunglasses, wearing the German national team's uniform underneath a life jacket and giving the victory sign, on the back of a jet ski.
The photo of Podolski, a former Arsenal striker who currently plays for the Japanese team Vissel Kobe, was actually taken in 2014 during the football World Cup in Brazil.
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