French radio station mistakenly publishes obituaries of celebrities

A French radio station mistakenly published scores of celebrities’ and world leaders’ prewritten obituaries on Monday ahead of their deaths. 

Readers of Radio France Internationale (RFI) for a brief moment learned of the apparent deaths of Queen Elizabeth II of England, former President Carter and actor Clint Eastwood, among others, The New York Times reported.  

RFI in its apology said it accidentally published about 100 obituaries for well-known people around the world. The radio station issued its apology several hours after the obituaries were prematurely published, saying it wanted to “present its excuses first and foremost to those concerned” or hurt by the obituaries. 

The news outlet that broadcasts in France and abroad said the mistake was made as it switched its website to a new content management system, and platforms such as Google and Yahoo News picked up some of the articles. 

“We offer our apologies to the people concerned and to you who follow and trust us,” the radio station said, according to a translation by BBC

Upon closer inspection, readers may have noticed a lack of detail in the articles. For example, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s premature obituary said he “died on XXXXX at the age of XXXXXXX.”

The Times reported that some French social media users were upset that RFI had prewritten obituaries, but the newspaper noted that it’s common practice for many news organizations. 

Others who had their obituaries published included Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, Cuba’s Raul Castro and former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. 

“Not everybody gets the chance to take note of one’s obituary while still alive,” Wade said on Facebook on Monday after his obituary was published. 

The RFI obituary for Bernard Tapie, the French businessman and former owner of the Olympique de Marseille soccer team, was the third published ahead of his death, according to the Times. 

Tags Jimmy Carter obituaries obituary

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