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Tom Brady threatens to sue over AI-generated impersonation of him

Attorneys representing Brady have threatened to sue two comedians over a simulated comedy special that featured an AI-generated Brady telling jokes.
Tom Brady threatens to sue over AI-generated impersonation of him
Posted at 10:51 AM, Apr 24, 2023

NFL legend Tom Brady is threatening to sue over a comedy special that featured an AI-generated version of the future Hall of Fame quarterback telling stand-up jokes.

In it, the Brady impressionist — which was created using artificial intelligence — made jokes about his recent divorce, the struggles of using dating apps, and the NFL deflate-gate scandal. 

Comedians Chad Kultgen and Will Sasso said on their "Dudesy" podcast that they had received a cease-and-desist letter from attorneys representing Brady, demanding the simulated, hour-long special be taken down, or they risk being sued.

"Mr. Brady will not allow Dudesy to exploit his publicity rights for Mr. Sasso's and Mr. Kultgen's personal financial gain — especially when Mr. Sasso and Mr. Kultgen have presented Mr. Brady's likeness in connection with highly offensive and defamatory material," the letter reads. "Mr. Brady reserves all rights to seek damages, and preliminary and/or temporary injunctive relief to put an end to Dudesy's conduct, including via the removal of all versions of the Infringing special."

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The letter states that the comedy special "blatantly violated" the seven-time Super Bowl champion's rights and presented him in a "false light" — allegations the comedians cast doubt on.

"It's an impersonation of Tom Brady," Kultgen said on the podcast. "It's exactly like what you would see if you watch any stand-up comedy special or any sketch comedy shows where they're doing impersonations of people. ...I don't think we're in any way presenting Mr. Brady at all. It's simply a parody of the idea of Tom Brady doing stand-up."

The comedians also referenced a viral conversation between Joe Rogan and the late Steve Jobs that was entirely fabricated using artificial intelligence and never actually occurred.

"This same technology exists on Snapchat, Instagram story filters, where you can take somebody else's face, put it over your own, you can now vocally make anyone sound like anything," Kultgen said. "This is simply how things are now."

The first 10 minutes of the Brady comedy special were available on YouTube earlier this month, but the clip has since been taken down.

Brady's attorneys also demanded Kultgen and Sasso immediately stop using "Mr. Brady's name, image, voice, persona, and likeness" in any of their videos — a request the comedians said they won't concede to.

The incident certainly raises questions about what creators can and can't do with artificial intelligence, and whether they could face consequences for the types of content they produce.

SEE MORE: When artificial intelligence creates art, who owns it?

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