Channel 4 has defended its ‘deepfake’ of the Queen after viewers threatened to boycott the ‘disrespectful’ speech parody.
While the 94-year-old monarch will address the nation on Christmas Day on the BBC and ITV, an alternative broadcast will be shown on Channel 4.
The artificially rendered version is played by actress Debra Stephenson.
Channel 4: What does the Queen say?
The Queen will appear to be telling viewers: “On the BBC, I haven’t always been able speak plainly and from the heart.
“So, I am grateful to Channel 4 for giving me the opportunity to say whatever I like, without anyone putting words in my mouth.”
The ‘fake’ Queen will go on to share her thoughts on the departure of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from the UK.
The skit also references Prince Andrew’s alleged involvement with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
What do viewers think?
Following the release of the online teaser, some viewers labelled the parody “extremely tasteless”.
Taking to Twitter, one wrote: “Channel 4 should be prosecuted for this. Boycott this channel. It’s against our heritage and culture. Treason.”
A second said: “Channel 4 is always the first to shout about subjects such as diversity, equality, LGBT, BLM, mental health etc.
“Yet they happily poke fun at an elderly woman who has dedicated her life to her country, supposedly in the name of humour. Disrespectful and extremely tasteless.”
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) December 23, 2020
A third shared: “It’s a disgrace to Her Majesty. Show some respect and a little deference towards our sovereign.”
Another added: “At what point did someone in your organisation think this would be funny or a great idea? Look at the responses and it hasn’t even aired yet.”
A fourth commented: “Have fun at the Ofcom tribunal, Channel 4! Oh, and you might want to hire more staff to deal with the complaints.”
A fifth fumed: “Disgusting. An insult to the Queen.”
Has Channel 4 responded?
A spokesperson for Channel 4 insisted the skit holds an “important and timely message”.
They told Metro.co.uk: “It is very clear in the four-minute film that this is a parody of the Christmas Day address and viewers will be left in no doubt that it is not real.
“However, while the film is light hearted, affectionate and comedic in tone, it carries a very important and timely message about trust and the ease with which convincing misinformation can be created and spread.
“This is part of a series of programmes examining the spread of misinformation and a Dispatches documentary, Deepfakes: Can You Believe Your Eyes, will further explore the emergence of deepfake technology on 28th December on Channel 4.”
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