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German police are now investigating two individuals accused of faking stories about refugees committing sexual assaults in Frankfurt. The reported “sex mob” of “Arab men” that attacked a market in Frankfurt turns out to be entirely false.

In a now deleted article, German tabloid Bild claimed that a “mob” of “50 Arab men” and “masses” of migrants had formed a “sex mob” and attacked woman all over Frankfurt. They included a quote from an unnamed 27 year old woman describing her assault. This woman is also now being investigated. The other witness, a local restaurant owner, claimed he wished to go to the press because he disliked local politicians claiming it was a successful night. He provided most of the details on the size of the crowd. Bild have now issued an apology and a retraction.

The story was then reported on as fact by a number of right wing “news” websites including Breitbart. Breitbart went further however, attacking the Frankfurt police for claiming that “the night went off without a hitch.” They went on to claim that hundreds of migrants had travelled to the city to attend celebrations, offering estimates between 900 and 1900.

In a now deleted article the Daily Express also republished the story. They have since edited the story, publishing a correction and that there has been a retraction but refusing to retract the original allegations.

Police have now reported that they believe the allegations to be “completely baseless.” One of the alleged victims was not in the city at the time and interviews with witnesses failed to hold up to scrutiny. In a statement they said “Masses of refugees were not responsible for any sexual assaults in the Fressgass over New Year. The accusations are completely baseless.”

Only a single sexual assault was reported in Frankfurt on the night and the assailant was not a refugee. No immigrants have been accused or convicted on New Years Eve.

One of the more worrying details was an allegation that the assailants lived at a refugee shelter in the centre of the city. This accusation was also untrue but created a specific target for people to blame for the falsified events.

Stories like this have been used by right-wing politicians and their media to justify their hatred and scepticism towards refugees. Whilst refugees are overall significantly less likely to commit crimes the bad behaviour of a few is used to justify aggressive and repressive refugee policy.

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