Scarlett Johannson takes legal action against AI app that cloned her likeness

"We do not take these things lightly," said the actor's lawyer.


Oscar-nominated actor Scarlett Johansson has taken legal action against an AI app developer for using her likeness in an ad without permission, Variety has reported. The 22-second ad promoted an AI image editor called Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar, and reportedly used an AI-generated version of Johansson's voice and image.

The ad showed a real clip of Johansson in a Black Widow behind-the-scenes clip, saying "What's up guys? It's Scarlett and I want you to come with me...". It then transitions to AI-generated photos and a cloned version of her voice promoting the AI app. Under the ad is fine print that states: "Images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person." Multiple Lisa AI apps created by Convert Software remain on the App Store and Google Play, according to Variety, but the ad no longer appears on X.

Johansson is "handling the situation in a legal capacity," said her lawyer Kevin Yorn. "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," he added.

Johansson has one of the best known faces (and voices) in Hollywood and is the spokesperson for high-end companies including Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton. Given that, it's hard to believe that someone would even attempt to rip off her likeness, if the claim is accurate (and it's not exactly a ringing endorsement for the quality of ads on X).

The idea of using AI to rip off celebrity likenesses is a relatively new phenomenon, so the legal ramifications are still being worked out. In one notable incident, actor Tom Hanks warned his fans on social media that videos using AI versions of his likeness were being used to fraudulently hawk products.

Though it's still a legal grey area, some states have related laws around privacy rights, with California for one allowing civil lawsuits for the unauthorized use in advertising or promotion of someone’s "name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness."