Scarlett Johansson “Angered” OpenAI’s Chatbot Sounds Just Like Her – CNET

Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI on Monday, saying the AI company went ahead and created a new chatbot voice that sounded “eerily similar” to her own, even though she had declined to license her voice to the system.

“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,” Johansson wrote in a statement, published by NPR on Monday. 

OpenAI showed off GPT-4 Omni (GPT-4o), its latest AI model, last Tuesday. The company demonstrated how the AI can verbally converse in even more human ways, complete with the ability to whisper, make sarcastic remarks and even flirt. 

The demonstration of OpenAI’s virtual assistant quickly drew comparisons to Johansson’s character from the 2013 movie Her. In that film, directed by Spike Jonez, Johansson played Samantha, a virtual assistant that develops an intimate relationship with a lonely writer.

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OpenAI has suspended the use of its AI voice, called Sky, while it addresses questions surrounding the issue of its voice assistant’s voice. Sky, which has been available since OpenAI launched ChatGPT’s voice mode last September, was one of five voices available with GPT 4o. In a blog post published Sunday, OpenAI said that it did not copy Johansson’s voice.

“We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice — Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice,” the company said. “To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”


Google unveiled its own real-time, multimodal AI assistant soon after Open AI.

Numi Prasarn, CNET

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Johansson accused the company, and its founder Sam Altman, of intentionally copying her voice. The American actor said that Altman had approached her in September to voice GPT-4o to help consumers “feel comfortable with the seismic shift concerning humans and AI,” adding that Altman said her voice would be “comforting to people.” Johansson, who declined the initial offer, went on to say that Altman had approach her agent again days before the May event, requesting that she reconsider licensing her voice for a virtual assistant.

“Before we could connect, the system was out there,” Johansson said in her statement. She went on to say that she was “forced to” hire legal counsel, who have written to Altman asking for transparency on the exact process undergone to hire the voice talent. 

Altman dismissed these observations, saying the voice of Sky was “never intended to resemble” the voice of Johansson, in a statement shared with CNET on Monday.


Sam Altman posted the word “her” on X on the day of OpenAi’s GPT-4o event.


“We cast the voice actor behind Sky’s voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson. Out of respect for Ms. Johansson, we have paused using Sky’s voice in our products,” Altman said. “We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn’t communicate better.”

The legal threat Johansson posses comes as OpenAI grapples with a series of copyright violations from creative industries spanning Hollywood as well as the broader media industry. In April, a group of eight daily newspapers took legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement related to the unauthorized use of their articles for training AI models.