Variety Asks Adult Industry to Weigh In on 'Deepfakes'

Variety Asks Adult Industry to Weigh In on 'Deepfakes'

LOS ANGELES — As the “deepfakes” phenomenon begins to make headlines in mainstream media, Variety published a report today that sought out answers from some of the top executives in the adult entertainment industry about where this is all headed.

Deepfakes, of course, is the newest genre of questionable adult content that has been popping up on sites. The technology makes it possible to doctor porn videos and exchange the faces of adult performers with those of Hollywood stars and other celebrities.

Variety noted in its piece that the adult industry is both benefiting from and struggling with the impact of new artificial intelligence technology that can be easily be created on an app that can be found on the internet.

In fact, Variety reporter Janko Rottgers wrote that the adult biz is “conflicted” with deepfakes and that it might be difficult to put the deepfakes genie back in the bottle.

Already, a number of online platforms, including PornHub, Reddit and Twitter have vowed to ban deepfakes videos. But they keep popping up elsewhere.

For today’s Variety story, Rottgers interviewed some of the most influential executives in the adult business, from Evil Angel CFO Adam Grayson to XBIZ Publisher Alec Helmy to lead BadoinkVR producer Xavi Clos. He also received comments from industry attorney Corey Silverstein of Silverstein Legal Group.

Grayson called the current “deepfakes” phenomenon “fucked up,” but he noted there could be a possibility of legitimizing the platform in the future.

“There’s an interesting world of artificial CGI porn that will be happening the next decade, where a fan can easily put any face on anybody in a porn scene,” Grayson told Variety. “But I think of that for personal consumption rather than public humiliation.”

So far, Grayson doesn’t like what he’s seen involving nonconsensual deepfakes content.

“Everything we do at Evil Angel and in the core of the adult industry is built around the word consent. Deepfakes by definition runs contrary to consent,” Grayson said.

“If a celebrity called us asking for help, of course we’d do everything in our power,” Grayson said. “As hard as it is for us to solve our own piracy problems via takedowns, I’d be really skeptical if our IP rights of the underlying content would be helpful.”

On the topic of takedown requests, Clos of BadoinkVR told Variety that “if there is ever an instance though where someone’s privacy is being violated, or the law is being broken, we will absolutely take the necessary steps to take down any such clips.”

Clos, like Grayson, noted the possibility for the adult biz to capture some market share with the technology, but not the way it currently exists.

“Deepfakes address a specific need in the market,” Clos said. “People could potentially use this for noncelebrities … perhaps a partner. The key thing is getting their permission.”

Silverstein told Variety that the deepfakes phenomenon is really nothing new to those who’ve followed porn’s backend through the years, and that there’s a workaround for the legal distribution of deepfakes.

“It will be a battle,” said Silverstein, but he argued that the battle could be won.

“Fake celebrity porn has been around since the 1990s,” he said. He noted that in the past it used to be more of an issue of photoshopped stills as opposed to doctored videos through artificial intelligence.

Helmy, also the founder of XBIZ,  told Variety that producers of adult content are already having a hard enough time getting pirated copies of their own content removed from websites.

“I would imagine deepfakes being an even bigger problem,” Helmy said. “Given the rogue nature of deepfakes, I don’t see how it can be effectively stopped.”

Variety’s Rottgers wrote in the piece that he tried chiming in with Naughty America for the studio’s take on deepfakes, but he got a big surprise when they replied.

“Naughty America didn’t reply with any answers to Variety’s questions about deepfakes, but instead decided to email a link to a porn video produced by the studio — complete with a deepfake version to boot,” Rottgers wrote.

To read the Variety piece, click here.