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In releasing its annual “alternative” Christmas message, Britain’s Channel 4 stirred up quite the controversy with a parody video of Queen Elizabeth’s annual Christmas Day message.
A controversy driven in part to how stunningly realistic the “deepfake” video is, with the channel explaining that it offers “a stark warning about the advanced technology that is enabling the proliferation of misinformation and fake news in a digital age.”
Either way, it seems nothing is sacred these days, not even respect for the tradition of British royalty.
“There’s two parts to this Christmas message,” a Channel 4 representative says in the video. “There is a serious part, which is really a message that people do need to think about where they get information from and whether they can trust the people who give it to them.”
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) December 25, 2020
“Obviously, on the other hand, we’re making a little thing on Christmas Day, we want it to be fun. We want it to be entertaining,” the representative added.
“If there is a theme to my message today, it is trust. Trust in what is genuine, and what is not,” the deepfake queen said in the video.
Among the candid things the deepfake Queen discusses is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s move to North America.
“There are few things more hurtful than someone telling you they prefer the company of Canadians,” said the alternative Queen, who even does a Tik Tok dance routine in the realistic video.
There were also barbs directed at Prince Andrew and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Channel 4 Director of Programmes Ian Katz said in a release “deepfake technology is the frightening new frontier in the battle between misinformation and truth,”
“This year’s Alternative Christmas Address, seemingly delivered by one of the most familiar and trusted figures in the nation, is a powerful reminder we can no longer trust our own eyes.”
Channel 4 released a video showing how it synthetically recreated the queen in the video, explaining that the technology makes it “more easy than most people would think” to manipulate a person’s face and voice
Actress Debra Stephenson filled in for the queen in Channel 4’s “deepfake” video.
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) December 25, 2020
Queen Elizabeth’s actual Christmas Day message reportedly drew a large audience as she commended frontline workers for their efforts during the pandemic and spoke to families apart during the holidays because of pandemic restrictions.
As for the criticism, Brexit proponent Nigel Farage led the way:
How dare they. https://t.co/hBQML7f9vB
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 23, 2020
I would rather go to the kitchen and hold my hands down on the hot plate for 10 minutes than watch this ‘woke’ rubbish. Not many things in this country remain sacrosanct, but Her Majesty most certainly still does and always will!
— Trish Sayers (@SayersTrish) December 23, 2020
Wow. How disrespectful. Being in USA I love the queen. What a graceful lady. Dedicated her life to service of her people. Great respect. Channel 4 should be ashamed. How dare they have the audacity? They are a disgrace to UK. PEOPLE SHOULD BOYCOTT the channel.
— GlobetrottingAmy (@globetrottingA2) December 23, 2020
Yep it is.
More evidence that the TV licence needs to go.
It is a Draconian tax that has had its day
— Allan Lunn (@Allan_Lunn) December 24, 2020
Mr Farage is correct. This intention to belittle the Crown is despicable and it is the opinion of many that it will not lead to the sale of the tv channel, but to it’s closure, and quite right too!
— Bob Warren (@rhwwarren) December 23, 2020
I’m no royalist really, but The Queen gets it right every time – and the public rightly respect and admire her. Channel 4’s ludicrously smart arsed “deep fake” alternative message is a million miles away from the public mood – and not nearly as clever or funny as they think it is
— Simon Boyle (@SimonBoyle87) December 25, 2020
It was offensively unfunny.
— Dan Wootton (@danwootton) December 25, 2020
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