Scarlett Johansson And Emma Watson Used In Sexual Ads Without Consent, See The Scandalous Images

DeepFake FaceSwap stole images of Scarlett Johansson and Emma Watson and used their likeness in sexual social media ads.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Emma Watson
Real image of Emma Watson.

Historically, actors like Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran Scarlett Johansson and Harry Potter alumna Emma Watson have been very self-conscious of their image, as each actor understands that all it takes is a quick paparazzi photo to completely alter the course of someone’s career. However, this latest obscene violation of each actor’s dignity and privacy didn’t come from any desperate photographer but instead from “deepfake” technology. NBC News reports that Meta users on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger were subject to an ad campaign for DeepFake FaceSwap, and this campaign stole Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson’s famous faces to portray them as seemingly initiating sexual acts.

Interestingly, deepfake technology arguably began back in 1997 (the same year that Goldeneye 007 came out for the Nintendo 64) and has been steadily improving since, but users typically needed to have a great degree of video editing savvy in order to create a convincing deepfake. In addition to seeming like something out of a sci-fi dystopia, this creepy little app serves as a reminder that using the images of others without their consent may now just be a click away for the average user. In other words, an ad campaign using the images of Scarlett Johansson and Emma Watson without their consent may only be the tip of the iceberg of how weird this is going to get.

Editing videos to make it look like Scarlett Johansson and Emma Watson are preparing to do something sexual would have been bad enough on the “ick” scale. However, the ad campaign also played up the sexual potential of this app by combining what looked like the beginning of a pornographic video with the telltale sound of Pornhub’s intro track (not that you know what that sounds like, of course). The message is as clear as it is horrific: whether they have much video editing talent or not, the average user can take any images they find and create whatever fantasy video they can imagine, all without the consent or even knowledge of the person whose face they are stealing.

scarlett johansson
Real image of Scarlett Johansson.

And while it sucks that the makers of the app decided to steal the likenesses of Scarlett Johansson and Emma Watson for its shameless marketing, these actors at least have enough resources to take the matter to court if they wish to and generally stamp out any unauthorized use of their faces. But the real potential terror of this app is that normal people will be able to create deepfake videos to fuel everything from their freaky lust to their weird grudges. And even though Meta eventually removed these ads, we can only imagine how bad it will be when this app and others like it are used against underage teens in order to promote harassment and even provoke suicide.

The kicker for all of this is that the company behind DeepFake FaceSwap officially forbids using it to impersonate others or to create sexual content…even though they marketed themselves by impersonating Scarlett Johansson and Emma Watson and heavily implying it would be easy to create sexual content using their likenesses. It was a bold move that was destined to get yanked by Meta, but considering that it costs eight dollars a week to use this app, we can only guess they were trying to get as many lonely dudes hooked on it as possible before Mark Zuckerberg gave them the boot. To these subscribers, we’d just like to say that not only is touching grass completely free but doing it frequently might keep you from downloading an app that will almost certainly land you (and rightfully so) on a watchlist.