EntertainmentDeepfake deception: Russell Crowe's image misused for real estate scam in Malta

Deepfake deception: Russell Crowe's image misused for real estate scam in Malta

Russell Crowe fell victim to fraudsters who exploited his image.
Russell Crowe fell victim to fraudsters who exploited his image.
Images source: © Getty Images | 2023 Ivan Romano

3:53 PM EST, January 23, 2024

The 59-year-old actor reported the occurrence on Service X, previously known as Twitter. An unexpected situation was highlighted by the publication "Daily Mail." A Maltese real estate company used Crowe's image to promote their application.

The fabricated image of Crowe predominately shown in the center frame delivers praises about the agency against a backdrop of scenic island shots. However, the star's posture seems blurred and clumsily superimposed onto the rest of the material, making it visibly dubious.

Crowe warns about the scam

"This is spreading in Malta. This is baseless falsification. Don't be deceived. It's also clear that this service or business must be disreputable and mendacious to resort to self-promotion. Block, report, ignore it. I've never patronized this service and do not endorse this deception," the actor warned while enclosing the suspicious video.

Intriguingly, when the "Daily Mail" article was published, Swipelets, the company behind the unethical stunt, was still publicizing posts about Crowe endorsing their services on Instagram. That post has since been removed.

"We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the legendary Russell Crowe! Swipelets and Malta Real Estate Agency have collaborated with the Gladiator himself, promising unparalleled experience in the real estate market. Keep yourself updated to receive exclusive offers and a taste of Hollywood magic!" they reported on the portal.

Connecting the Australian actor with the Mediterranean island of Malta was not arbitrary. Crowe surged into fame due to his lead role in Ridley Scott's seminal film "Gladiator", (a sequel of which is expected in theaters soon after a hiatus of more than 20 years). Numerous scenes from the film were shot in Malta. Also, as reported by "Daily Mail", last year, Crowe performed there with his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, a band he has been part of for over 30 years.

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