Al Jazeera removed a story published on Thursday that said the videos of ISIS beheading American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were “unconvincing,” according to Al Arabiya.
The outlet issued a statement on Saturday apologizing for the story and explaining why it was taken down.
“In respect to families of the victims and as we share their grief, Al Jazeera Arabic’s website decided to retract an inaccurate article that questioned the legitimacy of Foley and Sotloff’s beheading videos after a theory surfaced on a number of American social media sites claiming they were produced as a pretext ahead of a US invasion of Syria,” Al Jazeera’s managing director, Yasser Abu Hilalah, said in the statement. “We want to take this as an opportunity to reiterate Al Jazeera previous position in condemning the kidnapping of the two journalists and condemning their killing as a heinous crime.”
In the article, Al Jazeera claimed that Foley likely created the video himself.
“Foley was playing the role of champion not the victim only, for he recites a lengthy statement in peerless theatrical performance, and it seems from tracking the movement of his eyes that he was reading a text from an autocue,” the story read, according to Al Arabiya.
The piece also said that the jihadist who murdered Foley didn’t “have the features of common jihadist figures, but he was rather similar to a Hollywood actor.”
The Al Jazeera report detailed why the murder looked fake, cast doubt on whether Foley actually appeared in the video and questioned whether Foley was actually ever captured by ISIS.