Scarlett Johansson Accuses OpenAI of Using Her Voice Without Consent

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Key Takeaways

  • One of the five ChatGPT voices has been likened to Scarlett Johansson, leading to its withdrawal.
  • The voice of ‘Sky’ is very similar to the character played by the actress in the film, 'Her.'
  • OpenAI has dismissed any imitation claims, but CEO Sam Altman previously referenced the 2013 movie on X.

Scarlett Johansson has blasted OpenAI for using a voice similar to hers for one of its ChatGPT AI assistants.

The Hollywood actress released a statement to convey her anger at the situation, revealing that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman approached her last year to be one of the voices for ChatGPT 4o.

She declined the offer and sought legal counsel to determine what happened and how the US AI firm created ‘Sky.’

OpenAI has now removed the chatbot, stating it is “working to pause” Sky’s voice, which responds to ChatGPT users. At the same time, it addresses the similarity between the Hollywood star and the character she played in the 2013 movie ‘Her.’ It is unclear if the company will permanently remove Sky or if any amendments will be made in due course.

In ‘Her,’ Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his phone’s operating assistant, Samantha, who Johansson voices.

The statement from the highest-grossing box-office female talent of all time stated:

“When I heard the release 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.”

It also detailed how Altman referenced the name of the film Her when OpenAI unveiled the new model GPT-4o on May 13.

Johansson intimated this was an attempt to encourage the public to connect the AI assistant with the voice character she performed.

This was in response to a blog post published by OpenAI explaining that “AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice” and denying Sky’s vocals were an imitation of Johansson. Instead, the company insists it “belongs to a different professional actress using her natural speaking voice.” The detailed statement outlined how the company “worked closely with the voice acting industry to ensure we took the right steps to cast ChatGPT’s voices.”

It added that each actor “receives compensation above top-of-market rates” and that “to protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

This struggle with Johansson is the latest dispute OpenAI is embroiled in, following other disputes with artists and creatives. It is defending against lawsuits alleging it has inappropriately used copyrighted material to train its algorithms, including action from The New York Times and Game of Thrones author George RR Martin.