German media are under fire for reporting that two “grandpas” had escaped from a retirement home to enjoy a rock concert in Wacken, Germany.
News outlets crafted their stories from the following police report: "Around 03.00 o'clock a patrol took care of two elderly gentlemen, who apparently liked the Metal-Festival and had made their way from a Dithmarscher retirement/care home to Wacken.
"Of course, they were missed in their home and quickly organised a return transport after the police had picked up the seniors.
"The men, however, made their way home reluctantly, so that a patrol car accompanied the taxi as a precautionary measure."
This is how some media outlets covered the story:
- German magazine Der Spiegel’s original article headline read: "The crazy odyssey of the heavy metal pensioners”.
- German tabloid paper Bild’s headline read: “They wanted to go to Wacken: Seniors leave home".
- Newspaper HAZ stated: "Wacken brings Metal-Fans back to retirement home" and calls the men "sprightly retirees".
This is what the police told Euronews:
- The two men — not retirees but 58 and 59 years old — were both mentally-ill, confused, and found in the village where the festival was taking place.
- They had drunk alcohol which made their condition all the more “helpless".
- They were then brought to the festival’s medical tent for assistance.
- They had been celebrating in the main street of Wacken, but not at the festival
- They then waited for a bus at a stop that was closed due to festival traffic. At the same time, it was determined the men were missing from a care facility for mentally-ill people in Dithmarschen, 30 minutes north of Wacken.
Der Spiegel has since issued a correction and a new headline.