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Alexa will no longer swear a blue streak for you in the voice of Samuel L. Jackson.
Amazon has discontinued sales of the special Alexa celebrity voices from Jackson, Melissa McCarthy and Shaquille O’Neal, which have been able to tell jokes, report on the weather and deliver other responses.
According to notices on Amazon’s site, the trio of celebrity Alexa voice “personalities” are no longer available for purchase. The Alexa celebrity voice skills had cost $4.99 each. For customers who already bought them, the Alexa voices for McCarthy and Shaq are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2023, while the Jackson voice add-on for Alexa was deactivated as of April 30.
Introduced in 2019, the voice pack for Samuel L. Jackson — legendary for profanity-laced dialog — let Alexa users opt to use explicit language or not. For example: Asking “Hey Samuel, roast me” would elicit responses including “Why the f— do you want to be roasted? You really think you can handle that?” and “I’m just gonna ignore that request, because if I really roast you, your sorry ass will be destroyed on impact.”
Amazon introduced Alexa voice packs for McCarthy and Shaq in 2021, touting the popularity of the Jackson voice. That required each of them to record dozens of hours of themselves speaking to train the AI-based system that generated their Alexa voices.
Amazon did not respond to a request for more information. The company’s decision to phase out the Alexa celebrity voices was previously spotted by The Verge.
In the past six months, Amazon has been in cost-cutting mode, and the Alexa celebrity voices may be getting sunsetted as part of that larger initiative — which has encompassed layoffs totaling about 27,000 corporate employees since November.