Scarlett Johansson Sends Cease-and-Desist Letter to AI App That Used Her Likeness for Ad Without Permission

The “Asteroid City” star was digitally replicated in an ad for an AI software app that has been taken down

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson (Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Scarlett Johansson is threatening legal action against an AI app that digitally replicated her voice and likeness in an advertisement without her permission.

According to representatives for the actress, a cease-and-desist letter has been sent by Johansson’s attorney, Kevin Yorn, to the makers of Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook and Avatar, an app that generates images using artificial intelligence. The company was accused of using AI images and voices resembling Johansson in a 22-second ad that has since been taken down.

This isn’t the first time Johansson has spoken out against artificial intelligence. In a 2018 interview with The Washington Post, Johansson called for regulation against “deepfakes,” computer-generated replicas of public figures that could be used to spread misinformation about them or digitally add their faces into pornographic videos.

“Nothing can stop someone from cutting and pasting my image or anyone else’s onto a different body and making it look as eerily realistic as desired,” she said. “There are basically no rules on the internet because it is an abyss that remains virtually lawless, withstanding US policies which, again, only apply here.”

The cease-and-desist letter is the latest example Hollywood locking horns with artificial intelligence. Last month, Tom Hanks released an Instagram video warning that an AI-generated photo of him was being used to promote a dental plan that he was not associated with in any way.

Comedian Sarah Silverman was also recently part of a group of authors that sued AI company OpenAI and Facebook parent company Meta for using their written work to train the AI software ChatGPT without their consent.

Protections against AI abuse have also been a key part of the ongoing strikes in Hollywood, with the Writers Guild of America successfully negotiating for contract language confirming that generative AI cannot be credited as a writer on a project, that use of such software must be mutually agreed upon by the writer and the studio, and such use cannot impact a writer’s credit or compensation on a project.

SAG-AFTRA, which is currently in negotiations on its own contract, is also pushing for regulations that protect actors’ control over consent and compensation for any digitally produced replicas of their likeness or performances. Studio insiders have expressed confidence that a fair deal can be reached with the guild on AI, though SAG-AFTRA has told members that it remains “far apart” from the studios on several key issues.


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