High School AD Framed Principal With Fake AI-Generated Racist Audio: Cops

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A Maryland high school athletic director was arrested Thursday after police said he used artificial intelligence to generate a fake audio clip of a principal making racist and antisemitic remarks—an alleged frame-job believed to have been in retaliation after the school official opened a probe into him.

Dazhon Darien was arrested at Baltimore’s international airport on Thursday, three months after the fake voice recording of Pikesville High School Principal Eric Eiswert circulated far and wide, announced Baltimore County Police Chief Robert McCullough.

Eiswert’s voice, which McCullough and AI experts believe was simulated, made disparaging comments about Black students, which make up 50 percent of the student body, and the Jewish community. The clip caused a firestorm in the Baltimore suburb of Pikesville, with students reportedly calling for Eiswert’s ouster while many staff members spoke out to defend his character.

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Questions about the audio’s authenticity arrived immediately, and police wrote in charging documents that Darien accessed the school’s network on multiple occasions in December and January to search for OpenAI tools, the The Baltimore Banner reported. He also allegedly used “Large Language Models” that practice “deep learning.”

In the viral clip, a voice similar to Eiswert can be heard referring to “ungrateful Black kids who can’t test their way out of a paper bag.” The clip also mentioned how hard it is to get those students to meet grade-level expectations, the Banner reported.

The voice reportedly also said staff members’ names, detailing how they should not have been hired and that they should be fired “one way or another.”

“And if I have to get one more complaint from one more Jew in this community, I’m going to join the other side,” the voice also said.

The clip was reportedly sent to three teachers before it reached the public and went viral.

Darien faces charges including theft, stalking, disruption of school operations, and retaliation against a witness, said McCullough.

In a press conference, authorities conceded Thursday that the scandal shows “we’re entering a new, deeply concerning frontier.”

McCullough said Darien created the recording in retaliation against Eiswert, who’d launched a probe into the potential mishandling of school funds. Eiswert remains employed at the school, but Darien has resigned.

Darien has been under investigation since December, with authorities suspecting him of bypassing proper procedures to pay the school’s J.V. basketball coach—who was also his roommate—nearly $2,000 using school funds. He was also under fire for firing a long-standing coach without approval from higher authorities at the school, the Banner reported.

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