High school students allegedly broke no laws when they created an artificially intelligent (AI) deepfake video of a principal shouting racist slurs and threatening Black students.

Vice News reports that three high school students at Carmel High School in New York City used deepfake technology to create a video that shows John Piscitella, the principal of nearby George Fisher Middle School threatening to kill Black students.

In a highly offensive 30-second clip, which was viewed by PetaPixel, the deepfaked principal makes a series of racist remarks and violent threats.

“I f*cking hate Black kids. Like these stupid f*cking n***er monkey parents need to stop sending them here. Get them the f**k out, all of them,” the AI-generated voice says. “Like send them back to Africa. All they do is steal sh*t.”

The voice continues: “I hope those n***ers get shot because they just don’t learn. I am going to bring my machine gun to school and Ronnie McNutt this b*tch.”

There is also reportedly a second video made by Carmel High School students which was created in the same way. The clip has an overdubbed voice saying: “I’ll hang you like the KKK. The KKK legacy will return.”

‘No Laws Broken’

According to Atlanta Black Star, the deepfaked videos, which circulated on TikTok last month, were taken down after Carmel Central School District Board of Education became aware of the clips.

On February 15, Carmel Central School District Board of Education released a statement saying it was “appalled” at “the blatant racism, hatred and disregard for humanity displayed” in the videos.

The statement mentioned that the high school students used AI to create the clips and that the incident was being handled according to the district’s code of conduct.

However, the Putnam County Sheriff’s office investigated the racist deepfake videos and quickly determined that the high school students had not broken any laws. The incident was deemed not criminal.

Putnam County Sheriff Kevin McConville says that the posts involved impersonating an individual and were not recurring.

The Lack of Legislation Around Deepfakes

Parents are angry at the Carmel Central School District Board of Education and the Putnam County sheriff’s office’s failure to take the racist and violent threats in the AI-generated videos seriously.

Many parents are concerned as to why the students who created the racist deepfaked video are not facing hate crime charges. They are also asking why the school did not initially share the video with parents — who only learned about the full contents of the clips later.

The parents are now planning to file a lawsuit against high school authorities over the incident.

“The whole school system did not give proper notice to the parents, in fact they gave no notice to the parents that there was a terrorist threat to the school,” Arthur Schwartz, an attorney who is representing the parents, tells VICE News.

The incident highlights the lack of legislation in place to protect victims from abuse in deepfakes as the AI technology becomes more advanced and accessible.

In the U.S., there is currently no federal legislation to protect against people’s images being used without their consent in deepfake porn or with any associated technology.

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