The publisher of widely-read German tabloid Bild unleashed mass confusion on social media Wednesday when he posted an interview with Jan Boehmermann, the satirist facing criminal proceedings for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"I see no boundary between the man and the satirist," Kai Diekmann cited Boehmermann as saying in an interview he posted on Facebook, before revealing it was a work of fiction. "All of life is satire. One just has to recognize it."
Boehmermann, the host of late night talk show Neo Magazin Royale, cancelled all public appearances after authorities said they had launched a preliminary investigation into him for a video in which he accused the Turkish leader of watching child porn and performing sex acts with animals.
Prosecutors in the western city of Mainz said they were probing whether Boehmermann's poem, aired with Turkish subtitles on March 31, violates a law criminalizing insults against foreign heads of state. The government still needs to officially authorize the proceedings.
Erdogan has since filed a defamation complaint against Boehmermann, prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday to defend freedom of speech in Germany and downplay Ankara's political influence over Berlin as the two work together on implementing a controversial EU-Turkey migration deal.
Diekmann's fake interview has garnered more than 4,000 likes and 1,500 shares in the four hours since being posted on Facebook.