Morgan Freeman calls out AI replication of his voice

Morgan Freeman speaks about the AI replication of his voiceMorgan Freeman as a lawyer in Ted 2 (2015).

In this post:

  • Morgan Freeman has thanked his fans for highlighting the unethical use of his voice through AI.
  • The Shawshank Redemption star’s voice was used in a viral TikTok video.
  • Before Freeman, Scarlett Johansson also expressed her concern when OpenAI used a voice resembling hers for its chatbot.

Morgan Freeman is the latest Hollywood celebrity to voice his concerns about alleged voice-replicating scams using artificial intelligence. Freeman thanked his fans for efforts to call out unapproved AI impersonations of the actor’s distinctive voice.

Also read: SAG-AFTRA and record labels reach deal for artist protection against AI

The Oscar-winning 87-year-old actor is famous for his voiceover work. This has made him a target of AI-generated voice imitations, which he has condemned and expressed discomfort with the practice. A recent Tik-Tok series went viral, which was created by a female Tiktoker who claimed to be the “niece” of the legendary actor.

Morgan Freeman thanks his fans

Freeman is known for his outstanding work in films like The Shawshank Redemption and Million Dollar Baby. He recently took to the social media platform X to express his gratitude to his followers. In the post, Freeman said, “Thank you to my incredible fans for your vigilance and support in calling out the unauthorized use of an AI voice imitating me.” The actor also told his fans that their devotion helps maintain authenticity, and ” integrity remains paramount.” 

The actor tagged words like #AI, #scam, #imitation, and #IdentityProtection in his post. Michael L. Ross, author of “Across the Great Divide,” replied to Freeman’s post, saying, “There is only one of you.” Another user said the actor’s voice is worth holding. He said making parodies or imitations is one thing, but it should be made clear.

A TikTok user who goes by the name @justinescameraroll has a series on her account called “Day in the Life of a Nepo Niece.” Justine has 218k followers on TikTok, and her videos have been viewed over 1 million times.  She captioned one of her episodes, “Uncle Mo [Morgan Freeman] has been booked and busy, but I finally got him to narrate my trip!”

The video went viral after @JahelisWasHere shared it on the X platform. Jahelis wrote in the post, “Her uncle is Morgan Freeman and she gets him to narrate her day in the life vlogs. She wins at life and content creating. This is such a flex.” More than 16 million people viewed the X post.

Scarlett Johansson also accused OpenAI for using her voice

The actor’s concerns come at a time when the practice of AI-generated voices of famous people is under criticism in Hollywood. Another famous actor, Scarlett Johansson, said she was approached by OpenAI chief executive officer, Sam Altman. Johansson said the AI chief requested her to allow the use of her voice for ChatGPT, which she declined. 

Johansson spoke to Variety, an entertainment news outlet, that she was in disbelief when she found that the AI company had used a voice similar to hers. This happened even after her refusal for personal reasons. 

Also read: Tribeca Festival will screen AI-generated films made with Sora

Johansson’s legal team has asked OpenAI to disclose how it created a similar voice for its voice assistant. The legal team also asked the company to take down the AI assistant for having a voice similar to the actress. OpenAI has said that the imitation is not an exact replica of Johansson’s voice but it has paused the use of its voice assistant. 

Freeman recently authorized the use of his voice for programs like Life On Our Planet and also for some advertisements. However, Hollywood workers and creators rights body SAG-AFTRA, which represents 160,000 members, secured a compensation and AI protection deal late last year. The union also signed another deal in April 2024 with record labels for the use of actors/singers’ voices with proper compensation and consent.

A sub-Reddit, r/technology, also shared a news post mentioning the AI use of Freeman’s voice. A tech enthusiast replied in a comment to the post saying, “Somebody called us out the scam.” Another user, wrote jokingly, “It truly was a Shawshank redemption.”

Cryptopolitan reporting by Aamir Sheikh

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