Scarlett Johansson Gets Backing From Actors Union In AI Voice Dispute With OpenAI


The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists or SAG-AFTRA has come out in support of Scarlett Johansson in her dispute with ChatGPT-parent OpenAI regarding the alleged use of her voice in the company’s new AI voice assistant.

What Happened: On Tuesday, SAG-AFTRA, an organization representing television and radio artists, threw its weight behind Johansson, expressing gratitude for bringing attention to this issue, reported Reuters.

Johansson has raised concerns about the voice feature of OpenAI’s latest AI model, GPT-4o, claiming that the AI-generated voice sounded remarkably similar to her own. She also stated that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman reached out to her in September, but “after much consideration and for personal reasons,” Johansson refused to lend her voice to the project.

See Also: Elon Musk Recalls Breaking Friendship With Google’s Larry Page Over Ilya Sutskever: ‘Linchpin For OpenAI Being Successful’

“We thank Ms. Johansson for speaking out on this issue of crucial importance to all SAG-AFTRA members. We share in her concerns and fully support her right to have clarity and transparency regarding the voice used,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said.

The union, which represents around 160,000 entertainment and media professionals globally, has been instrumental in securing agreements from Hollywood studios for better pay and protections against the use of AI for actors.

In a blog post, OpenAI also addressed the issue saying that the voice in question belonged to a different professional actress. The company has also replaced the voice dubbed “Sky” with “Juniper.”

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Why It Matters: The dispute over the rights to actors’ voices and images has become a major issue in Hollywood as studios explore AI’s potential for creating new entertainment. This issue is particularly relevant as computer-generated images and sounds become increasingly indistinguishable from human ones.

OpenAI has been facing major backlash since Johansson publicly said she was “shocked, angered and in disbelief” after hearing the released demo. Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX CEO, and founder of xAI, also condemned OpenAI, the startup he co-founded in 2015 and subsequently left, for replicating the voice of the actor.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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