Sports Illustrated Accused Of Using Fake, AI Writers

Sports Illustrated is being accused of using fake, AI-generated writers, according to a new article by Futurism. Though Sports Illustrated has denied this accusation, they have also deleted all allegedly AI-written content from their website upon Futurism’s article going viral.

According to this Futurism article, Sports Illustrated created AI writer profiles with AI photos of people who did not exist. Futurism focused on one specific writer on the Sports Illustrated online section, a man named Drew Ortiz. However, Drew Ortiz reportedly does not exist at all, and no information could be found on this man.

Futurism could find no background information on Drew Ortiz. This included no former published articles on other websites, nor any social media accounts. The only Drew Ortiz that they could find was on Sports Illustrated.

Drew Ortiz’s headshot seen on Sports Illustrated’s website also was seemingly bought through a website that sells AI-generated headshots.

Furthermore, it’s alleged that his writer bio was also written by AI, as it said, “Drew has spent much of his life outdoors, and is excited to guide you through his never-ending list of the best products to keep you from falling to the perils of nature. Nowadays, there is rarely a weekend that goes by where Drew isn’t out camping, hiking, or just back on his parents’ farm.”

His bio didn’t state that he was generated by AI in any capacity. As a result, Sports Illustrated is being accused of trying to pass AI writers as real people.

After being confronted about these AI allegations by Futurism, The Arena Group, which is Sports Illustrated’s publisher, deleted all AI-generated articles and writer bios. According to The Arena Group, all of this alleged AI content was “licensed content from an external, third-party company, AdVon Commerce.”

However, it now appears that The Arena Group is changing its tune a bit. A new statement released by the publishers states that the Futurism article is inaccurate. According to The Arena Group, an “initial investigation” proved how Futurism was wrong. The articles were written by human writers, not AI.

“AdVon has assured us that all of the articles in question were written and edited by humans,” the statement said. “However, we have learned that AdVon had writers use a pen or pseudo name in certain articles to protect author privacy — actions we strongly condemn.”

The Arena Group also has ended its partnership with AdVon. Sports Illustrated will also remove all articles that AdVon produced for the magazine.