Scarlett Johansson tackles AI in legal showdown against app that used her likeness, voice in ad


Scarlett Johansson is the latest actor to take a stand on artificial intelligence.

The “Black Widow” star has taken legal action, per Variety, against an AI image-generating app called Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar for her voice and likeness in an ad posted on X, formerly Twitter. 

Johansson’s attorney told the outlet, “We do not take these things lightly. Per our usual course of action in these circumstances, we will deal with it with all legal remedies that we will have.”

In the ad, posted on Oct. 28, but apparently no longer available, footage of Johansson behind the scenes on “Black Widow” is used, where she says, “What’s up guys? It’s Scarlett and I want you to come with me…” before a graphic covers her mouth, and the screen shows AI-generated images that resemble her.

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Close up of Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson is pursuing legal action against an AI app that used her likeness and a sound-alike voice without her permission. (Taylor Hill/WireImage)

A sound-alike voice is heard saying, “It’s not limited to avatars only. You can also create images with texts and even your AI videos. I think you shouldn’t miss it.”

There was fine print under the ad that read, “Images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person.” 

Fox News Digital reached out to representatives for Johansson and the Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar app, but they did not respond to a request for comment.

Johansson’s public disavowal of the app may have an unintended consequence, according to AI expert Marva Bailer. 

“There’s a lot of possibility that they don’t care if they get in trouble, and it’s worth it to get their name out there because everybody’s talking about this application right now,” she told Fox News Digital.

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Scarlett Johansson smiling on a red carpet

According to AI expert Marva Bailer, the company may not have cared “if they get in trouble, and it’s worth it to get their name out there because everybody’s talking about this application right now.” (Arturo Holmes/WireImage)

The “Avengers” star isn’t alone in having to call out a company for using their likeness or voice without permission.

Tom Hanks took to social media last month to warn his fans that his image was being used in a dental promotion without his consent.

“There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it,” he wrote on Instagram, signing his name to the comment.

Hanks does not appear to be pursuing legal action at this time, unlike Johansson.

Tom Hanks appears stoic on the carpet in a dark suit and shirt

Tom Hanks alerted fans on his social media that his likeness was being used without his consent. (Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

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“The reason I believe we’re seeing this interest from Scarlett Johansson is because she’s actually not only calling out the misuse of her likeness, but she’s calling out the application that’s allowing the people or a person or agency to do this harm. And that’s what’s making this really interesting,” Bailer said.

“The app is supposed to be for people over the age of 13 to put their photographs and voices in there and make it great fun creation that they can use with their friends, maybe on social media, but with their friends. They’re not supposed to use it for an ad,” she continued. 

Bailer also noted that the false ad could impact the cycle of publicity for any upcoming projects for Johansson, which can lead to “a really strong reaction from her legal team.”

Scarlett Johansson in a white dress

Bailer said that any faked ads could impact Johansson’s ability to promote projects or other causes, leading to “a really strong reaction from her legal team.” (Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

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On Wednesday, People shared a new PSA for Feeding America featuring Johansson. She also has a yet-to-be-released drama, “North Star,” on her slate.

“Right now, the access to create content is available really at no cost and also really no training. So the ability for bad actors or people that are trying to make a joke and really don’t understand the ramifications is out there. And we see this during election cycles. We see it during product launches, and it interrupts the flow of commerce,” Bailer said.

She added, “What’s interesting about this case is it’s really bringing to light that each state has different laws on the right of publicity and use of likeness. And that’s where we’re now seeing potential federal regulation in the U.S.”

In October, a proposed “No Fakes Act” was released as a discussion draft by a bipartisan group of senators, according to Bloomberg Law.

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It would establish the federal right to control one’s own image and voice, also known as the right of publicity, and allow individuals to control digital replicas, a protection that would exist for 70 years after their death.

The penalties include a fine of $5,000 per violation and any economic damages that can be proven in court.



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