Black athletic director of Baltimore high school arrested for creating AI deepfake of white principal to stage race hoax

Apr 25, 2024 | Political News

A Maryland school athletic director was arrested at BWI-Marshall Airport after it was discovered that he had allegedly spread an AI-generated impersonation of the Pikesville High School principal that framed the principal as being racist. Dhazon Darien, 31, is looking at many charges due to the deepfake, including stalking, theft, disruption of school operations, and retaliation against a witness.

The police investigation began in January when a voice recording alleged to be school principal Eric Eiswert began making the rounds. Eiswert was temporarily removed from his position as head of the school and the school received many phone calls and social media comments and messages over the recording after it was spread on social media, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The recording can be heard here:

“You know, I seriously don't understand why I have to constantly put up with these dumbasses here every day,” the recording said. “Between these ungrateful black kids who can't test their way out of a paper bag, or these teachers who don't get it, how hard is it to get these students to meet their grade level expectations?” It then went on to criticize faculty before saying “And if I have to get one more complaint from one more Jew in this community, I'm going to join the other side.”

Police say they have conclusive evidence that Darien was the one who made the recordings and that he was trying to retaliate against Eiswert who was investigating Darien's alleged misuse of school funds. Eiswert told officers he thought the deepfake was Darien's work. 

After the recording came out, BLM activist Deray McKesson slammed Eiswert, saying that he had been his social studies teacher and that he should be fired right away. He was one of many who fell for the hoax.

This is a first-of-its-kind case, said Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger. He said that while the charge of disrupting school activities is only six months, it is important to “take a broader look at how this technology can be used and abused to harm other people.”

Darien was released on $5,000 bond.