The inflight magazine of Egypt’s national airline apologised on Tuesday over an interview with actress Drew Barrymore that sparked an online furore, with many people tweeting their doubt about whether it was real.
The article went viral after it was posted online by a sceptical reader and the Huffington Post quoted a spokesperson for Barrymore saying she “did not participate” and that her team was “working with the airline PR team”.
The article opens by saying that after “being unstable in relationships most of her life”, Barrymore decided “to temporary take an unlimited vacation to play her most crucial role a mother”. The quotes attributed to the actress are also rendered in imperfect English.
The editor-in-chief of Horus magazine and the head of Ahram advertising agency that publishes it released a letter on Tuesday suggesting the problem lay in translating from English to Arabic and back again.
“We apologise for any misunderstanding that might be interpreted as an offence to the great artist,” they wrote.
The bylined journalist, Aida Takla, tweeted on October 3 that the magazine may have heavily edited her piece but: “This doesn’t negate the fact that the interview with Drew Barrimoor which took place in New York is genuine &far from fake [sic].” The editor and publisher did not directly answer claims the interview had been fabricated but said all material submitted in a foreign language is translated into Arabic and then into English.
As for the lead of the article, which says Barrymore “has been subconsciously seeking attention and care from a male figure”, they said any such introduction could be a “product of the editor’s creativity on the condition that it contains no information that is contrary to the truth.”
“We are about to investigate this by checking thoroughly the source-material that the translator depended on to write the interview,” they said.