Mom Accused of Creating 'Deepfakes' of Cheerleaders Says Damage Is Done Despite Dropped Charge
Raffaela Spone’s daughter Allie was a cheerleader on the Victory Vipers, one of the most competitive cheerleading squads in the state. Spone was accused of creating "deepfake" videos to trash her daughter’s rivals on the cheerleading squad.
The arrest of a Pennsylvania mother last March made national headlines when it was learned that she was accused of creating "deepfake" videos to trash her daughter’s rivals on the cheerleading squad.
Raffaela Spone’s daughter Allie was a cheerleader on the Victory Vipers, one of the most competitive cheerleading squads in the state. Last year, several cheer squad parents and other adults including coaches were sent videos and anonymous texts complaining about their children’s behavior on social media.
One of the videos appeared to show a cheerleader vaping, but prosecutors called the clip a "deepfake" and claimed Spone was responsible.
She was arrested and charged in connection to the dissemination of the fabricated clips. Prosecutors now say they cannot confirm that Spone faked any of the videos and dropped that charge.
“I worked my whole life to get where I am and it was taken away from me in a heartbeat,” she told Inside Edition.
She still faces a criminal trial for harassment over texts she allegedly sent parents complaining about their daughters’ behavior. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“Unfortunately my client has been tried in the court of public opinion long before this case has ever come to trial and it's sad,” her attorney said.
In an interview with Inside Edition, Spone said the incident has impacted her life in numerous ways.
“It's impacted my life in so many ways from losing jobs, friends, family,” she said. “It's basically a complete living nightmare that you just can't get out of.”
The girl in the video, Madi Hime, insisted to Inside Edition last March that the video was manipulated to make it look as if she was vaping.
“I was shocked, surprised and scared,” she said. “I didn't know who would be able to mimic a video like that because it looked really real.”
But an expert on "deepfakes" who examined the video told Inside Edition that because the video was a recording of another video being displayed on a screen, it wouldn’t be possible to reach any conclusive decisions on its voracity.
In the meantime, Spone’s daughter Allie says the hardest part for her is watching her mother suffer.
“It breaks my heart because she's the person I care about the most, and to see her change makes me upset,” she said.
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