Scarlett Johansson says trying to stop people making deepfake porn videos of her is a ‘lost cause’

Scarlett Johansson spoke to The Washington Post about how so-called deepfakes are being weaponized against women.

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Scarlett Johansson spoke to The Washington Post about how so-called deepfakes are being weaponized against women.
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REUTERS/Kyle Grillot

  • The actress Scarlett Johansson spoke to The Washington Post about the rise of using “deepfake” technology to superimpose women’s faces onto porn videos.
  • Deepfakes use artificial-intelligence software to collate pictures of a person and then graph their face onto footage of someone else.
  • Johansson, who has been the target of numerous deepfake porn videos, said that trying to stop it was a “lost cause.”
  • Deepfake pornography has also been used to target women who are not famous.

Scarlett Johansson recently spoke to The Washington Post about how “deepfake” technology is being used to superimpose women’s faces onto pornography, and she said that trying to stop it was a “lost cause.”

Deepfake technology uses artificial-intelligence software to superimpose images of a person’s face onto footage of someone else, or simulate them saying something they did not say.

Read more: A viral video that appeared to show Obama calling Trump a “dips—” shows a disturbing new trend called “deepfakes”

The Post’s article highlighted that women are being disproportionately grafted onto pornographic videos.

Johansson has been the victim of multiple deepfake porn videos, one of which, The Post said, wrongly claimed to be genuine “leaked” footage and had garnered over 1.5 million views on a major porn site.

“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 said.

“The fact is that trying to protect yourself from the internet and its depravity is basically a lost cause,” she told The Post, adding, “The internet is a vast wormhole of darkness that eats itself.”

Public figures like Johansson are not the only women to be targeted by deepfake pornography. One woman whose face had been superimposed onto a porn video told The Post she felt “violated.”

“It’s this weird feeling, like you want to tear everything off the internet,” she said. “But you know you can’t.”

While still not entirely convincing, deepfake technology is quickly advancing. The aim of targeted pornography videos could be less to convince and more to humiliate and harass women.

The Post found that some users on discussion boards and private chats claim to make videos by request, at roughly $20 a video.

The Post said it tracked down the request that resulted in the woman’s video. The requester had supplied 491 photos of her face, many from her Facebook account, according to the newspaper.

Deepfake videos exist in a legal limbo, making it difficult for victims to track down perpetrators or remove content. According to The Post, some experts think the videos may be protected by the First Amendment, though they might also fall under the category of defamation, identity theft, or fraud.