Scarlett Johansson Speaks Out On Deepfake Porn, Calls It “A Lost Cause”

Photo: Dan MacMedan/Getty Images.
Scarlett Johansson has, unfortunately, experienced appalling invasions of her privacy since she’s been in the public eye. She was one of the numerous victims of the 2011 celebrity hack, in which nude photos of famous women were leaked online. And now, Johansson is shedding light on another type of disturbing victimisation of women online, famous or not: “deepfake” porn. Johansson talked to the Washington Post about the practice of artificially grafting of women’s heads onto bodies of pornographic performers, typically in a hardcore scene.
“The internet is just another place where sex sells and vulnerable people are preyed upon,” she told WaPo. Johansson’s tone is weary — she feels like speaking up about deepfake is a losing prospect for her, because “[c]learly this doesn’t affect me as much because people assume it’s not actually me in a porno, however demeaning it is.” And her recourse is nearly nonexistent, she said, calling it “a useless pursuit.”
The implications of such porn are unnerving. AI-assisted technology now allows for the grafting to take on an uncannily real quality. A Motherboard report discovered a Reddit user who created a face-swapping app, making the deepfake porn creation process as simple as uploading a video. Users can create fake porn with celebrity faces, which is disturbing enough, but it can also be used to create fake revenge porn of the average person with malicious intents. Technology also means that it is extremely difficult to track down creators of such content, particularly if the creators live abroad.
Ultimately, Johansson stresses the need for people to protect their own image and content online to the extent that they can but also admits that fighting deepfake porn, hacking, harassment, and stolen passwords is “a lost cause.” She tells the Post that “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. There are basically no rules on the internet because it is an abyss that remains virtually lawless.”
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