Disgruntled athletic director allegedly frames principal with AI-generated racist, antisemitic recording

A Maryland high school athletic director was detained on Thursday for allegedly using artificial intelligence (AI) to make racist and antisemitic audio in his boss’s voice, according to officials.

Dazhon Darien, 31, an athletic director at Pikesville High School, reportedly recorded the recording in retaliation against his supervisor, Pikesville Principal Eric Eiswert, who was conducting an investigation into Darien’s suspected mismanagement of school funds, investigators claimed.

At a press conference on Thursday, Baltimore County Police Chief Robert McCullough stated that officials became aware of the voice recording on January 17 and properly investigated the claims before disclosing the material to the public.

Disgruntled athletic director allegedly frames principal with AI-generated racist, antisemitic recording

“On January 17, 2024, the Baltimore County Police Department became aware of a voice recording being circulated on social media,” McCullough stated in a press release. “It was claimed that the voice recorded on the audio clip corresponds to Mr. Eric Eiswert, the Principal at Pikesville High School. “We now have conclusive evidence that the recording was not authentic.”

According to authorities, after conducting a “extensive investigation,” both the FBI and a forensic analyst from the University of California, Berkeley, determined that the audio clip was false.

Eiswert’s AI-generated voice can be heard shouting and raving about Black and Jewish families at the school in an audio tape that was first distributed to teachers and faculty and then extensively distributed on social media.

“It should be noted that comments in the recording spoke to [Eiswert’s] alleged frustrations with test scores of African American students and assertions that they [African American students] were unable to ‘test their way out of a paper bag,’” the charging papers, which were obtained by The Baltimore Banner, stated.

Disgruntled athletic director allegedly frames principal with AI-generated racist, antisemitic recording

“The tape continued to make insulting remarks about Jewish people and two instructors who’should never have been hired’ at the school. The recording depicted a conversation between [Eiswert] and one of the Assistant Principals at PHS,” according to charging documents obtained by the local broadcaster.

Authorities claimed the clip had repercussions for Eiswert, who had received a “wave of hate-filled messages on social media and numerous phone calls to the school.”

“The audio clip had profound repercussions,” police added. “It not only resulted in Eiswert’s temporary expulsion from the school, but it also sparked a flood of hateful responses on social media and countless phone calls to the school. The tape also caused substantial disturbances to the PHS staff and students.

At a news conference Thursday, Baltimore County School Superintendent Myriam Rogers stated that the administrative procedure for disciplining Darien had begun and that the school was looking into other instructors who were involved in circulating the audio.

Darien is facing many counts, including stealing, stalking, disrupting school operations, and retaliation against a witness.

Following a court appearance on Thursday, Darien was freed on a $5,000 unsecured bail.

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