Scarlett Johansson AI controversy takes turn as agent says another actress was hired for ChatGPT voice: report

New revelations from an agent for the actress who voiced “Sky” for ChatGPT have thrown a twist into the public dispute between Scarlett Johansson and OpenAI.

Johansson, an international superstar known for her roles in “Avengers” and “Her,” accused the artificial intelligence company of imitating her voice for ChatGPT after she turned down an offer from CEO Sam Altman to be a human voice featured in the AI chatbot’s Voice Mode. But the agent for a different actress who landed the role says her client was never asked to imitate Johansson’s voice, according to The Washington Post.

The actress’ agent said neither Johansson nor the 2013 movie “Her” — in which Johansson voices a virtual AI assistant — was mentioned when her client auditioned for ChatGPT. The agent also said her client was hired to create the voice for “Sky” months before Altman reached out to Johansson, the Post reported.

The agent told the Post the name “Sky” was chosen to “signal a cool, airy and pleasant sound,” the report said. Audio recordings of the actress’ voice test sounded identical to the AI-generated SKy voice, the paper reported.

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Actress Scarlett Johansson (L) and her husband, comedian Colin Jost, arrive for the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C., on April 27, 2024. (DREW ANGERER/AFP via Getty Images)

Johansson released a statement Monday that said Altman contacted her in September about possibly being the voice for ChatGPT. She claimed that he had suggested her “comforting” voice “could bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives” and help with the “seismic shift concerning humans and Al.”

Though she rejected the offer after “much consideration and for personal reasons,” Johansson was furious after several users commented that the “Sky” voice system resembled her work in “Her.”

“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. 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 statement read.

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Scarlett Johansson attends the New York premiere of “Asteroid City” at Alice Tully Hall on June 13, 2023, in New York City.  (Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Johansson revealed she had hired legal counsel for a potential lawsuit against OpenAI and suggested that her lawyer’s demands for an explanation had resulted in OpenAI taking down the “Sky” voice on Sunday.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Altman denied that “Sky” was intended to resemble Johansson’s voice.

“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. We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn’t communicate better,” Altman said.

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Scarlett Johansson portrayed the fictional character Natasha Romanoff in multiple Marvel films. (Disney)

Joanne Jang, a product lead at OpenAi, told The Washington Post that Altman was on a world tour during the casting process for ChatGPT’s Voice Mode and was not intimately involved.

In a statement to the Washington Post from the “Sky” actress through her agent, she wrote that the backlash “feels personal being that it’s just my natural voice and I’ve never been compared to her by the people who do know me closely.”

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The unidentified voice actress said she knew beforehand what being a voice for ChatGPT would entail.”[W]hile that was unknown and honestly kinda scary territory for me as a conventional voice over actor, it is an inevitable step toward the wave of the future,” she said, according to the Post.

Representatives for Johansson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.

Chris Pandolfo is a writer for Fox News Digital. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ChrisCPandolfo.

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