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Deepfake Porn Videos Are Using Scarlett Johansson’s Face, but She Says It’s Useless to Fight Back

"There are basically no rules on the internet because it is an abyss that remains virtually lawless," the actress told The Washington Post.

Scarlett Johansson poses in the press room of the 2018 People's Choice Awards at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, USA, 11 November 2018.Press Room - 2018 People's Choice Awards, Santa Monica, USA - 12 Nov 2018

Scarlett Johansson

NINA PROMMER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Videos referred to as “deepfakes” use an AI-generated algorithm that makes it possible to scan a celebrity’s face and upload it onto preexisting video content. While deepfakes have gone viral for inserting Nicolas Cage into iconic movies, they’ve also become problematic for giving people the ability to take celebrity’s faces and digitally insert them into pornographic videos. Scarlett Johansson is fully aware there are deepfake porn videos featuring her face, some of which garner millions of views, but she recently told The Washington Post there’s nothing she can really do about it.

“Clearly this doesn’t affect me as much because people assume it’s not actually me in a porno, however demeaning it is,” Johansson said. “I think it’s a useless pursuit, legally, mostly because the internet is a vast wormhole of darkness that eats itself. There are far more disturbing things on the dark web than this, sadly. I think it’s up to an individual to fight for their own right to their image, claim damages, etc.”

“Every country has their own legalese regarding the right to your own image, so while you may be able to take down sites in the U.S. that are using your face, the same rules might not apply in Germany,” the actress continued. “Even if you copyright pictures with your image that belong to you, the same copyright laws don’t apply overseas. I have sadly been down this road many, many times. The fact is that trying to protect yourself from the internet and its depravity is basically a lost cause, for the most part.”

Johansson was previously the victim of a hacker who was sentenced to 10 years in prison after leaking nude photographs of the actress and other celebrities online. The amount of pornographic deepfake videos that exist are numerous. The Post reports that one video featuring Johansson’s face and presented as real leaked footage has over 1.5 million views.

“The Internet is just another place where sex sells and vulnerable people are preyed upon,” Johansson said. “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, withstanding US policies which, again, only apply here.”

Johansson returns to the big screen as Black Widow in April’s “Avengers: Endgame.” Read the actress’ full statement on The Washington Post website.

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