Mother of Murdered Toddler James Bulger Condemns Disturbing AI-Generated Videos

AI-Generated Clips Circulating on Social Media

Denise Fergus, the mother of James Bulger, a two-year-old who was tragically murdered three decades ago, has expressed strong condemnation for “sick” AI-generated video clips of her deceased son circulating on social media.

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These animated videos featured a version of the young boy discussing his abduction and murder by two 10-year-old boys in 1993.

Denise Fergus described these videos as “disgusting” in an interview with The Mirror.

Social Media App’s Response

The animated clips were shared on the popular social media app TikTok, but the platform has taken action to remove them, as they were deemed to be in violation of its guidelines.

James Bulger’s Tragic Story

In 1993, James Bulger was abducted from a shopping center in Bootle, Merseyside, and later found tortured and killed by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, the two 10-year-old boys responsible for his death.

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The perpetrators were sentenced to life in prison but were released on license with new identities in 2001.

Jon Venables, now 40, has faced subsequent prison sentences for possessing indecent images of children and was denied parole in 2020.

Disturbing Content Shared on TikTok

Apart from the videos depicting James Bulger, there were also AI-generated likenesses of other missing or murdered children circulating on TikTok.

Some of these clips featured Madeleine McCann, who disappeared at the age of three while on holiday in Portugal in 2007; Rhys Jones, an 11-year-old who was murdered in Liverpool in 2007; and Peter Connelly (Baby P), who died in 2007 after suffering months of abuse.

Denise Fergus’ Outrage and Disgust

Denise Fergus, aged 55, expressed her outrage at the videos and particularly the one in which an avatar resembling her deceased son appeared to speak.

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She found it deeply disturbing to witness “a dead child’s face, speaking about what happened to him,” and deemed it wrong to use the likeness and voice of a child who is no longer alive.

Fergus expressed her concern about the mental state of those who create and share such content, referring to them as “disturbed.”

TikTok’s Response and Guidelines

In response to the disturbing content, a spokesperson for TikTok emphasized their commitment to maintaining a welcoming environment for all users.

The platform’s community guidelines clearly state that they do not allow synthetic media featuring the likeness of a young person.

As a result, TikTok continues to remove such content whenever it is discovered on their platform.

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