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Scarlett Johansson: ‘Fruitless Pursuit’ to Prevent People from Making ‘Deepfake’ Porn of Me

Scarlett Johansson
Jessica Forde/Universal Pictures
CHARLIE NASH

Hollywood starlet Scarlett Johansson has responded to the creation of realistic “deepfake” A.I.-generated porn videos featuring her face, claiming it is a “lost cause” to attempt to take action against such videos.

“Clearly this doesn’t affect me as much because people assume it’s not actually me in a porno, however demeaning it is. I think it’s a useless pursuit, legally, mostly because the internet is a vast wormhole of darkness that eats itself,” Johansson declared to the Washington Post. “There are far more disturbing things on the dark web than this, sadly. I think it’s up to an individual to fight for their own right to their image, claim damages, etc.”

“It’s a fruitless pursuit for me but a different situation than someone who loses a job over their image being used like that. Also, every country has their own legalese regarding the right to your own image, so while you may be able to take down sites in the U.S. that are using your face, the same rules might not apply in Germany,” she continued. “Even if you copyright pictures with your image that belong to you, the same copyright laws don’t apply overseas. I have sadly been down this road many, many times.”

Johansson then claimed “trying to protect yourself from the internet and its depravity is basically a lost cause, for the most part,” and added, “The Internet is just another place where sex sells and vulnerable people are preyed upon. And any low-level hacker can steal a password and steal and identity. It’s just a matter of time before any one person is targeted.”

The actress also warned that anyone can be a victim, not just celebrities, and stated, “It just depends on whether or not someone has the desire to target you.”

“Obviously, if a person has more resources, they may employ various forces to build a bigger wall around their digital identity. But 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,” Johansson concluded. “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.”

Deepfake pornography rose to prominence in 2017, with realistic, but fake, AI-generated pornography featuring Johansson, Emma Watson, Gal Gadot, Maisie Williams, and Aubrey Plaza.

“There’s a video of Gal Gadot having sex with her stepbrother on the internet. But it’s not really Gadot’s body, and it’s barely her own face. It’s an approximation, face-swapped to look like she’s performing in an existing incest-themed porn video,” reported Motherboard at the time. “The video was created with a machine learning algorithm, using easily accessible materials and open-source code that anyone with a working knowledge of deep learning algorithms could put together.”

In February 2018, popular pornography website PornHub banned deepfake videos, claiming they counted as “nonconsensual content.”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.

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