AOC likens AI-generated deepfake to real rape after seeing graphic faux image of herself

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke out about the trauma of seeing a sexually explicit deepfake image of herself on social media, vowing to target AI-generated pornography through legislation.

The socialist diva told Rolling Stone that while she was perusing her X feed while in a car talking to staffers back in February, a graphic fake image showing “someone forcing her to put her mouth on their genitals” popped up, badly rattling her. “I need to get this off my screen,” was her first reaction, closing out of it and likening the imagery to real physical rape.

“There’s a shock to seeing images of yourself that someone could think are real,” Ocasio-Cortez told Loreina O’Neil who writes for the longtime countercultural outlet turned establishment mouthpiece as the two grabbed a bite to eat at a diner in her Queens, NY district.

“As a survivor of physical sexual assault, it adds a level of dysregulation,” she said. “It resurfaces trauma, while I’m trying to — in the middle of a f**king meeting.”

“There are certain images that don’t leave a person, they can’t leave a person,” she added, saying that the “violent” image stayed in her head all day. “It’s not a question of mental strength or fortitude — this is about neuroscience and our biology.”

The congresswoman said that such sexually explicit deepfakes are a “way of digitizing violent humiliation against other people” and that “It’s not as imaginary as people want to make it seem. It has real, real effects not just on the people that are victimized by it, but on the people who see it and consume it.”

“And once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it,” she said. “It parallels the same exact intention of physical rape and sexual assault, [which] is about power, domination, and humiliation.

“It’s so important to me that people understand that this is not just a form of interpersonal violence, it’s not just about the harm that’s done to the victim,” she told Rolling Stone’s reporter, as she dramatically “puts down her spoon and leans forward.”

“Because this technology threatens to do it at scale — this is about class subjugation. It’s a subjugation of entire people,” AOC said. “And then when you do intersect that with abortion, when you do intersect that with debates over bodily autonomy, when you are able to actively subjugate all women in society on a scale of millions, at once digitally, it’s a direct connection [with] taking their rights away.”

“Kids are going to kill themselves over this. People are going to kill themselves over this,” she said.

Another famous female who had an experience with “repulsive” deepfake porn was pop superstar Taylor Swift after fake images of her proliferated across social media earlier this year, prompting a temporary X shutdown of searches for the planet’s number one Kansas City Chiefs fan’s name.

Ocasio-Cortez’s traumatic experience inspired her to take action, joining with other lawmakers to introduce the Disrupt Explicit Forged Images and Non-Consensual Edits Act of 2024, or the DEFIANCE Act.

“Victims of nonconsensual pornographic deepfakes have waited too long for federal legislation to hold perpetrators accountable. As deepfakes become easier to access and create — 96% of deepfake videos circulating online are nonconsensual pornography — Congress needs to act to show victims that they won’t be left behind,”  she said in a statement.

“The DEFIANCE Act will allow victims to finally defend their reputations and take civil action against individuals who produced, distributed, or received digital forgeries. I’m grateful to lead this legislation with Senator Dick Durbin, along with my Democratic and Republican colleagues in both the House and Senate,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

“There have been times in the past where I did have moments where I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I can survive this,’” the “Squad” leader told Rolling Stone. “And in those moments sometimes I remember, ‘Yeah, that’s the point. That is quite literally the point.’ I was the youngest woman elected to Congress, and it took over 200 years for a woman in her twenties to get elected to Congress, when this country was founded by 25-year-old dudes! Do people think that’s a f**king coincidence?”

Chris Donaldson

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