Queen Elizabeth ‘deepfake’ alternative Christmas message slammed, criticized

Queen Elizabeth 'deepfake' alternative Christmas message slammed, criticized

Channel 4 will release a 5-minute “deepfake” video of Queen Elizabeth on Christmas Day.

Queen Elizabeth gives a speech every year, during the Christmas season. She typically highlights the events of the past year, as well as provides some words of encouragement and wisdom toward the viewers.

The public has now started to speculate what the annual message will contain. Some even asserted that she will likely tackle the pandemic crisis, including all of the challenges that the country has faced these past few months.

As the talks about the Christmas message continue to develop, controversies relating to the speech emerged earlier this week after Channel 4 released a clip of a “deepfake” version of the Queen’s annual stint. The Daily Express reported that this has since caused fury and rage among royal followers and supporters.

Channel 4’s “deepfake” video of Queen Elizabeth

Channel 4 recently released a clip of a “deepfake” version of Queen Elizabeth’s annual speech during the holiday season. The station calls it the “alternative Christmas message” as the digitally altered British Monarch will address the viewers.

The five-minute video will air on Christmas Day, shortly after the Queen delivers her official speech. In the snippet, the fake monarch touches on topics, including Megxit and the pandemic crisis.

Reports said that British actress Debra Stephenson voiced the digital royal in the material. As for the purpose of it, the network stated that it serves as a “stark warning about advanced technology,” which now has the capability of spreading misinformation.

Why royal fans are furious

While the goal of the move seemingly appears to have come from a good place, royal fans and followers blasted the execution as “disrespectful” to Queen Elizabeth and the British Royal Family. This has even led many individuals to urge others to boycott the network.

On Twitter, where Channel 4 released the teaser material, netizens expressed their fury and anger toward the station. “They think they are edgy,” one critic said, adding that the whole thing is “just cringe.”

“This is very disrespectful,” a different Twitter user stated. “At what point did someone in your organisation think this would be funny [or] a great idea,” another netizen rhetorically asked.

What experts had to say about Channel 4’s move

The Guardian covered the same narrative with experts chiming on the controversy. As noted, the broadcast of the “deepfake” version of Queen Elizabeth might cause misinformation, which, ironically, is the very thing that the channel is trying to combat through the edited video.

Witness’s programme director Sam Gregory explained that the material might make the public think that deepfake technology is a “more widespread problem” than they are. In the end, he said that it is fine to make deepfakes known to people. However, no one should escalate it to the point of claiming that the public is already surrounded by them.

Amid the controversies, though, Queen Elizabeth has not released an official statement about the matter. But, her official annual Christmas message will go as planned on Christmas Day in the United Kingdom.

Featured image courtesy of The Royal Family/YouTube

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