James Bulger's mum slams 'absolutely disgusting' AI TikTok videos of her 'son' talking about his murder

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Other child victims of crime such as Madeleine McCann and Baby P have also been created in AI videos

James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus has shared her horror at finding videos on social media sites like TikTok which have been created to show her late son talking about his own murder.

James was just aged two in 1993 when he was taken from a shopping centre by 10-year-olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables and killed on nearby train tracks. Denise had been shopping with her son and had momentarily let go of his hand when Thompson and Venables snatched the little boy and led him away. It has been 30 years since this tragedy, but it remains one of the most shocking and heart-breaking murder cases in British history.

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Now, the family face fresh pain as people are creating AI videos which depict the toddler discussing his murder. Denise told The Mirror that she has asked TikTok to take the videos down, but a search by NationalWorld on the morning of 29 July found some videos were still on the site.

Denise told The Mirror: “To actually put a dead child’s face, speaking about what happened to him, is ­absolutely disgusting. It is bringing a dead child back to life. It is wrong. I think these people must be disturbed.”

‘It’s beyond sick’

Denise said the ‘sick’ videos were first brought to her attention earlier this year by her husband Stuart. She hoped the first video she saw was a one-off, but quickly released this was not the case. There are multiple versions of the video on the platform, which all show a small boy who says he is the tragic tot. The boy discusses the abduction and murder of James and goes on to express hope that ‘his story’ raises awareness of child safety.

There are versions where the boy speaks with British and American accents, and also where he speaks in English, Spanish and French. In some particularly distressing videos, possibly where translation has not been carried out correctly, James is referred to as a criminal himself, and in other videos his name is also spelled incorrectly. There are also videos which show the boy standing by train tracks.

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James Bulger was murdered by Jon Venables and Robert ThompsonJames Bulger was murdered by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
James Bulger was murdered by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson | Getty

Denise told The Mirror: “It is one thing to tell the story, I have not got a problem with that. Everyone knows the story of James anyway. But to actually put a dead child’s face, speaking about what happened to him, is ­absolutely disgusting. It is bringing a dead child back to life. It is wrong.”

She also said she believes the people who create these videos “must be disturbed.”. She added: “To use the face and a moving mouth of a child who is no longer here, who has been brutally taken away from us, there are no words. It is not just not nice for the parents to see. I don’t think anyone at all should be able to see stuff like this."

‘Take it all down’

James is not the only child victim of crime who has been depicted in these AI videos. There are also versions which show missing toddler Madeleine McCann and also Baby P, who died after months of abuse by his own mother.

Denise is calling for all AI videos of this kind to be taken down, not just the ones depicting her own son. The 55-year-old also said she was particularly upset with one video which appears to be a close copy of a photo of James, with his lips moving.

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James Bulger's mum Denise Fergus. Photo by Getty Images.James Bulger's mum Denise Fergus. Photo by Getty Images.
James Bulger's mum Denise Fergus. Photo by Getty Images. | Getty Images

She told The Mirror: “To see his little face moving when he is no longer here, it is disgusting. It all should be taken down and stopped. It is not fair on the people who have lost children, or lost anyone. We are not just saying take James down, we are saying take it all down. It is beyond sick. Who can sit there and think of such a thing?”

Stuart, age 48, said he has reported the videos to TikTok but has not had a response. He told The Mirror: “It is not just James, it is other children, Madeleine McCann, Rhys Jones, any case like that. I don’t think these people understand the upset they are causing. Companies like TikTok should be held accountable. When you report it [to them] things should happen but it doesn’t.”

The creators of the videos maintain they have done nothing wrong. A caption on one of the videos reads: “This video was created using artificial intelligence, as a form of expression, and not a disrespectful photograph of him. I simply want to share his story in an immersive video.”

The videos have also been met with disgust by TikTok users, who are also calling on the creators to take them down. One person summarised the feelings of all the commenters when they said “take this down, so disrespectful to James and his family”.

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TikTok said it had already taken down a number of the videos. The platform added in a statement to The Mirror: “We want TikTok to be a welcoming place for everyone, and there is no place for disturbing content of this nature. We continue to remove content of this nature as we find it.”

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