Who is Madi Hime? Teen cheerleader who was sent 'nude deepfakes' by rival's mom felt 'no one would believe' her
Raffaela Spone made the 'deepfake' pictures and video of the girls 'naked, drinking and smoking' to get them kicked off her daughter's squad
DOYLESTOWN: PENNSYLVANIA: A Pennsylvania teenage cheerleader who became the target of "deepfake" videos and pictures last summer by a competitor's mother who wanted her off the team, opened up on Monday, March 15, saying that she thought no one would believe her if she spoke out.
Last summer, when Madi Hime was 16, her cheer squad trainer on the Victory Vipers cheer squad approached her and two other teammates in July 2020, regarding photographs and videos that seemed to show them naked or in bikinis, drinking alcohol and smoking vape pens, according to the affidavit filed by the Bucks County District Attorney’s office.
Madi appeared on Good Morning America on March 15 after 50-year-old Raffaela Spone, the mother of one of her teammates, was jailed for creating the clip of her and more fake images of two other teammates. Prosecutors stated that Spone made the "deepfake" pictures of the girls "naked, drinking and smoking" in a bid to get them kicked off of the squad after they had a fight with her daughter.
"I went in the car and started crying and was like: 'That's not me in the video.' I thought if I said it, no one would believe me because obviously, there's proof, there's a video — but obviously, that video was manipulated." Madi eventually brought the messages to her mother, Jennifer Hime. "It had actually been going on for quite a while, I just didn't know about it," Hime told GMA.
"I told [Madi]: I'm going to call the police because I wanted her to know that's how much I believed her." The investigators with the Hilltown Township Police Department investigated the phone number that had sent the messages to Madi back to Spone and later discovered that she'd allegedly sent similar images to the two other teammates.
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub told the Washington Post that Spone wasn't charged with a more serious felony offense because the doctored photos included skin tone bars to create a "Barbie doll-like effect" to make the girls appear nude, but "with no obvious genitalia."
Spone was arrested on March 5, 2021, and charged with three counts of cyber harassment of a child and three counts of harassment, according to Hilltown Police Department's online records.