Netflix embroiled in alleged AI scandal with What Jennifer Did

Streamer has been accused of manipulating images in true-crime documentary

Ellie Muir
Friday 19 April 2024 10:18 BST
Netflix embroiled in AI scandal with What Jennifer Did

Netflix has been accused of using AI-manipulated images in its new true-crime documentary What Jennifer Did.

The film tells the story of 24-year-old Jennifer Pan who was convicted of a kill-for-hire attack targeting both of her parents, killing her mother and injuring her father. The events took place in Canada in 2010 and Pan is currently serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

In an interview included in the documentary, Pan’s high school friend Nam Nguyen describes her as “bubbly, happy, confident, and very genuine”. Nguyen‘s words are accompanied by a series of photos that show Pan posing as she holds her hands in the peace sign position and pokes her tongue out at the camera.

However, on closer inspection of the images, Pan’s left hand looks like it has only two fingers, missing a thumb, ring finger and small finger. On the other hand, she appears to be missing another small finger.

Tech site Futurism first reported the observations. Often, human hands can be the first sign of image manipulation because they are difficult to generate or edit.

The Independent has contacted Netflix for comment.

While it is difficult to know what, if any, editing took place, manipulation of an image in a true-crime documentary would be seen as controversial given that the film is based on real-life events and should be told truthfully without embellishment.

Pan, now aged 37, was sentenced for hiring hit men to murder her parents.

The full image of Jennifer Pan included in Netflix’s ‘What Jennifer Did’ (Netflix)

On 8 November 2010, a 911 call was made from a home in a residential neighbourhood in Ontario, Canada. Pan told police on the phone that she was home with her parents and gunmen had broken into their house and demanded money. Pan said that the intruders tied her up, shot both of her parents, and fled. Her mother died quickly and her father was severely wounded and taken to hospital, where he was put into an induced coma.

It was thought initially that the Pan family’s home was randomly targeted but as more details emerged, detectives started to get suspicious of Pan when a neighbour’s security camera footage captured three men entering the house with no signs of forced entry.

Pan was the sole witness of the events until her father came out of his coma, and told police that his daughter appeared to know the people who broke into their home.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Pan confessed to hiring the killers and leaving her house unlocked – though she claimed that she had arranged for herself to be their target, not her parents.

Clips from Pan’s interrogations are included in the film (Netflix)

The Netflix show reveals that detectives learnt that it was Pan’s second attempt to organise a murder-for-hire, and ten months prior, she had asked another acquaintance to kill her parents.

Her father, Huei Hann Pan, testified for the prosecution at his daughter’s 2014 murder trial. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, and she continues to maintain her innocence, according to the documentary.

The three hitmen also received life sentences with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

What Jennifer Did is now streaming on Netflix.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in