HomeNewsScarlett Johansson Was Forced To Hire “Legal Counsel” Due To OpenAI’s Actions

Scarlett Johansson Was Forced To Hire “Legal Counsel” Due To OpenAI’s Actions

Scarlett Johansson declined the offer to voice ChatGPT 4.0 but ended up listening to a voice that sounded “eerily similar” to hers.

OpenAI recently demoed the GPT-4o model with a revamped and enhanced voice mode but the existing one has a voice named “Sky” which sounds highly similar to that of popular Hollywood Actress Scarlett Johansson, as noted by most users. Days later, Scarlett Johansson has now released a new statement that she was forced to hire “legal counsel” because of OpenAI’s unethical move of using a voice that sounded “eerily similar” to the actress’s voice without her consent.

In a statement, Scarlett Johansson said that she was reached out by Sam Altman (CEO at OpenAI) to voice the ChatGPT 4.0 model back in September 2023 as he felt her “voice would be comforting to people”. However, after consideration and due to personal reasons, Johansson declined the offer. This request from Altman is in line with OpenAI’s recently published blog post regarding how it chose voices of various actors for the voice mode of ChatGPT.

What came after though, had the actress in shock. “Nine months later, my friends, family and the general public all noted how much the newest system named “Sky” sounded like me”, said Scarlett. “When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference. Mr. Altman even insinuated that the similarity was intentional, tweeting a single word “her” – a reference to the film in which I voiced a chat system, Samantha, who forms an intimate relationship with a human.” Altman made the tweet soon after the GPT-4o unveiling ended.

She added that Altman reached out to her 2 days before the release of ChatGPT 4.0 but before they could connect, the voice was already out in the public. “As a result of their actions, I was forced to hire legal counsel, who wrote two letters to Mr. Altman and OpenAl, setting out what they had done and asking them to detail the exact process by which they created the “Sky” voice”, she added.

Consequently, OpenAl agreed to take down the “Sky” voice according to her, which the company also announced via the same blog post we mentioned earlier. However, OpenAI didn’t mention a reason as to why the voice was being removed from ChatGPT. What it did say in the blog post was, that the voice was not supposed to be an “imitation” of Johansson’s.

Altman told NBC News that “The voice of Sky is not Scarlett Johansson’s, and it was never intended to resemble hers. We cast the voice actor behind Sky’s voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson. Out of respect for Ms. Johansson, we have paused using Sky’s voice in our products. We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn’t communicate better.”

Johansson also pointed out the rising cases of deepfakes being used for illegal purposes around the world. “In a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities, I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity. I look forward to in the form of transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation to help ensure that individual rights are protected”, she wrote.

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