School Employee Arrested for Creating Hateful Deepfake Video of Principal

The sports director of a high school in Maryland, Dazhon Darien, is facing charges of using AI software to imitate the school’s administrator, Eric Eiswert, and produce an audio tape that is racist and antisemitic.

Midway through January, a phony tape surfaced on Instagram, causing chaos at Baltimore County Public Schools, the 22nd most extensive school system in the United States, which educates over 100,000 kids. Eiswert was put on administrative leave after receiving several threats to his safety despite his denial of making the statements.

Darien is now facing accusations of stalking the principal and interfering with school activities.

Myriam Rogers, superintendent of schools in Baltimore County, said that upon learning of the audio recording on January 17, the school and the Baltimore County Police Department began an inquiry. The forensic examination that the detectives sought revealed the audio to be a deepfake.

On the tape, Eiswert criticizes Black pupils’ performance on standardized tests, Black educators, and Jews. Darien allegedly created the tape in retaliation against Eiswert, who was investigating possible district financial mismanagement.

During the middle of January, Darien emailed himself and two other high school staff members with the subject line “Pikesville Principal – Disturbing Recording.”. Students and their parents called the school hysterically after the video went viral. Mr. Darien was apprehended at Baltimore International Airport just before he was about to take a trip to Houston, Texas, according to Chief Robert McCollough of the Baltimore Police Department. How his claimed pistol was stored in his checked baggage prompted officials to halt him. Upon investigating his identity, they discovered an active arrest warrant.

The recent incident in Baltimore County is just the most recent example of how the misuse of artificial intelligence in educational institutions is quickly becoming a significant problem. U.S. schools have been rushing to resolve disturbing deepfake situations since last autumn. In these events, male students used artificial intelligence “nudification” applications to fabricate nude photos of female peers, with the youngest victim being a 12-year-old middle schooler.