Scarlett Johansson OpenAI Scandal Over Sky Voice Causes Actress To Speak Out

By Charlene Badasie | Published

scarlett johansson

Scarlett Johansson has expressed her “shock” at OpenAI for creating an AI voice that “eerily” resembled her own after she turned down an offer to voice the system. The actress released a statement on May 20 revealing that ChatGPT’s Sam Altman renewed his offer for her to officially lend her voice to his product after the Sky demo had already been released.

Scarlett Johansson Wanted For ChatGPT

“I received an offer from Sam Altman, who wanted to hire me to voice the current ChatGPT 4.0 system. He told me that he felt that by my voicing the system, I could bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives and help consumers to feel comfortable with the seismic shift concerning humans and Al. He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people,” Scarlett Johansson said in a statement recounting the events that began in September 2023.

Declines The Offer

“After much consideration and for personal reasons, [I] declined the offer,” she continued. Nine months later, Scarlett Johansson was taken aback by the uncanny resemblance of the newly released OpenAi Sky system to her own voice.

“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,” she explained.

A Deliberate Likeness?

scarlett johansson

To make matters worse, Altman seemed to imply that this likeness was deliberate, referencing a movie in which Scarlett Johansson voiced a similar AI chat system named Samantha.

The actress also revealed that just two days before the ChatGPT 4.0 demo’s release, Altman reached out to her agent, urging them to reconsider his initial offer.

But by then, the damage was done. Scarlett Johansson had to resort to legal action, sending letters to Altman and OpenAI, demanding an explanation for their actions.

The company eventually agreed to remove the voice from the system. Citing broader concerns surrounding deepfakes and identity, Johansson called for legislative action to protect people in an era of rapid technological advancement.

Just Like Scarlett Johansson In Her?

OpenAI’s recent launch of GPT-4.o is a big step forward in AI development. Before it was pulled, a standout feature was the conversational voice system Sky, reminiscent of the AI character in Scarlett Johansson’s movie Her.

The film tells the story of a man who falls for his AI virtual assistant. While OpenAI’s CEO sees similarities in a positive light, watching the movie might give him pause. 

Her delves into intimacy in a tech-driven future, where people prioritize virtual relationships over real ones. Although the movie was praised for its visuals and acting, it also critiques society’s obsession with technology.

While the concept seems appealing to AI companies, the film shows that AI relationships lack depth, leaving the protagonist to reevaluate his human connections.


Away from the Scarlett Johansson controversy, GPT-4o’s capabilities include live conversation. Users can interrupt the model during its responses, and it will stop, listen, and adjust course.

The model can also reason through visual problems in real-time, such as guiding users through algebra equations. GPT-4o offers live translation, the ability to search through conversations, and the ability to look up information in real-time.

Despite Scarlett Johansson’s outrage, OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, sees GPT-4o as a step towards more natural human-computer interaction, shifting the paradigm towards collaboration where interaction becomes more natural.

Other Voices Besides Scarlett Johansson

GPT-4o supports over 50 languages, covering over 97 percent of speakers. Its multilingual capability was demonstrated during a demo event, where it translated between English and Italian in real-time. 

OpenAI’s GPT-4o has a context length of 128k tokens and an output token limit capped at 2048, making it a leading model in the Large Model Systems Organization Elo Arena Benchmarks by the University of California, Berkeley.

Despite Sky being pulled due to complaints from Scarlett Johansson, users can still choose from four other voices, including Breeze, Cove, Juniper, and Ember. 

Source: The Wrap

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