The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists called for deepfakes to be made illegal after the technology was used recently to generate explicit images of Taylor Swift and a new comedy special that featured the late George Carlin.

“The sexually explicit, A.I.-generated images depicting Taylor Swift are upsetting, harmful, and deeply concerning,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement Friday. 

“The development and dissemination of fake images — especially those of a lewd nature — without someone’s consent must be made illegal.” 

The statement comes in response to sexually-explicit deepfakes of Taylor Swift that went viral Wednesday on X, amassing over 27 million views and more than 260,000 likes in 19 hours before the account that posted the images was suspended.

On Friday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella slammed the images as “alarming and terrible,” and said the company has to act fast to combat AI generated nude pictures. 

Earlier this month, artificial intelligence was also used to resurrect the late stand-up comedian George Carlin with a new AI-generated special that Carlin’s daughter decried as a “rape & pillage” of her father’s art, and which prompted a lawsuit this week from Carlin’s estate.

The hour-long special, titled “George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead,” features a voice and attitude remarkably like the late comedian’s, and was uploaded to YouTube earlier this month by the Dudesy channel. Carlin died of heart failure in 2008.

The lawsuit alleges copyright infringement and a violation of the late comedian’s right to publicity.

“Families should not have to see their loved ones exploited for profit,” SAG-AFTRA said in their statement. 

“We support the Carlin family, who are pursuing legal action against those using the comic’s work without seeking consent or offering compensation.” 

The potential for inappropriate use of AI technology was a central concern of the SAG-AFTRA and Writer’s Guild of America strikes. Both contract agreements included some guardrails against the technology, such as informed consent, but actors and writers alike have called these protections disappointing. 

In their statement Friday, SAG-AFTRA reiterated its desire for stronger legal protections against AI. 

“SAG-AFTRA continues to support legislation by U.S. Rep. Joe Morelle, the Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act, to make sure we stop exploitation of this nature from happening again,” they said.


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