joaquin phoenix wearing glasses with a mustache in her
(Warner Bros.)

ChatGPT Voice That Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson in ‘Her’ Shut Down Following Backlash

OpenAI is on the receiving end of backlash yet again, this time for a chatbot that sounds an awful lot like the AI voiced by Scarlett Johansson in Her.

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Remember the Spike Jonze movie Her? And how it was about a man lost in his own loneliness who tried to find love through technology? Only to realize he needs human connection? It’s almost like the people at OpenAI missed the point. More than that, the company was using a celebrity’s voice—or a convincing soundalike—without consent or attribution, one of many fears we’ve had since the rise of AI.

Named Sky, the voice was part of OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4o release. CEO Sam Altman even acknowledged the connection between Sky and Samantha, the AI that Johansson voiced in Her. The company, however, does not claim to be stealing Johansson’s voice. In a statement, OpenAI clarified that Sky was voiced by another actress: “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. To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

The company went further to make it clear that the actors they use are paid for their work. “We support the creative community and worked closely with the voice acting industry to ensure we took the right steps to cast ChatGPT’s voices. Each actor receives compensation above top-of-market rates, and this will continue for as long as their voices are used in our products.”

Sky is currently down to address concerns

The situation has been mocked relentlessly online, even ending up as a bit on Saturday Night Live‘s annual joke swap between Michael Che and Johansson’s husband, Colin Jost. OpenAI saw what people were saying and decided to take Sky offline in order to address the issue.

“We’ve heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky,” OpenAI said. “We are working to pause the use of Sky while we address them.” This is a nice response to the situation but it is still genuinely funny to me that a man who works with AI said that his favorite movie is Her, as Altman did during an interview.

It just feels very Twilight Zone-esque to use a movie about the need for genuine human connection as a guide to AI. Her highlights that we will always need other humans. As Samantha is going offline at the end of the film, she says to Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), “The heart’s not like a box that gets filled up, it expands in size the more you love.” Then she takes the romance function out of his OS settings and we see Theodore and Amy (Amy Adams), two humans, sitting together at the end.

That is a movie about humans and to make an AI sound like Samantha just … really misses the point.


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.