Scarlett Johansson Slams ChatGPT Seemingly Emulating Voice After She Declined: 'Shocked, Angered, and in Disbelief'

The 39-year-old actress says OpenAI debuted a voice assistant that sounds similar to her voice after she walked away from an offer to work with them.

Scarlett Johansson stands on the red carpet at the White House Correspondents’ Association event, wearing an elegant off-shoulder gown
DREW ANGERER/AFP via Getty Images
Scarlett Johansson stands on the red carpet at the White House Correspondents’ Association event, wearing an elegant off-shoulder gown

Scarlett Johansson’s legal team is looking for answers as to why OpenAI developed a voice assistant that sounds like her after she walked away from an offer to be the official voice for ChatGPT.

In a statement made to NPR, the actress revealed that she received an offer from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman last September to voice the ChatGPT 4.0 system, believing her voice would make the technology more relatable and comforting to users.

“After much consideration and for personal reasons, I declined the offer,” read the 39-year-old’s statement. “Nine months later, my friends, family and the general public all noted how much the newest system named ‘Sky’ sounded like me. When I heard the released 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.”

Last week, the organization previewed the artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant during its Spring Update Event, NPR reports.


— Sam Altman (@sama) May 13, 2024
Twitter: @sama

“Mr. Altman even insinuated that the similarity was intentional, tweeting a single word ‘her’ - a reference to the film in which I voiced a chat system, Samantha, who forms an intimate relationship with a human,” the actress added.

Johansson alleges that just before the demo was released, Altman reached out to her agent asking the star to reconsider, but the system had already launched before they could connect on the matter.

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“As a result of their actions, I was forced to hire legal counsel, who wrote two letters to Mr. Altman and OpenAl, setting out what they had done and asking them to detail the exact process by which they created the ‘Sky’ voice,” Johansson’s statement continued. “Consequently, OpenAl reluctantly agreed to take down the ‘Sky’ voice.”

Statement from Scarlett Johansson on the OpenAI situation. Wow:

— Bobby Allyn (@BobbyAllyn) May 20, 2024
Twitter: @BobbyAllyn

She added, “In a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities, I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity. I look forward to resolution in the form of transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation to help ensure that individual rights are protected.”

We’ve heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky. We are working to pause the use of Sky while we address them.

Read more about how we chose these voices:

— OpenAI (@OpenAI) May 20, 2024
Twitter: @OpenAI

In a blog post published on Sunday, OpenAI stated that Sky was developed using a professional actress’ natural voice and is not an imitation of Johansson’s voice. The organization clarified that it worked with “award-winning casting directors and producers” to establish criteria emphasizing diversity, trustworthiness, and naturalness.

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