Israeli woman sues after unwittingly inspiring a sex doll

Instagram model Yael Cohen Aris says Chinese company is marketing life-size toy with her head on it, using her name, and with details right down to the beauty mark on her lip

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli Instagram model Yael Cohen Aris (right) in a British TV interview, and the sex doll (left) she says was created in her image without her consent, January 10, 2022. (YouTube screenshot)
Israeli Instagram model Yael Cohen Aris (right) in a British TV interview, and the sex doll (left) she says was created in her image without her consent, January 10, 2022. (YouTube screenshot)

Israeli Instagram model Yael Cohen Aris says a sex doll of her has been made without her permission, with the likeness so accurate it includes a beauty mark she has just below her lip.

Cohen Aris, 25, told the UK’s ITV television network on Monday that the toy being marketed by Irontech Dolls even shares her name, “Yael.”

To leave no further doubt as to the origin of the item’s design, it is being promoted online using real-life images of her, she said.

Chinese company Irontech Dolls markets top-level sex dolls that come with an internal skeleton and detachable heads that can be switched. One of the heads it offers along with a life-size doll is called the “Yael” and has Cohen Aris’s dark hair, facial structure, eyeglasses, and beauty mark.

“It’s not just about a beauty mark and my name, because sex dolls are still just dolls and there is a limit to how much they can look like a human being,” Cohen Aris told ITV’s This Morning show. “But once it was connected to my identity and image and videos, social media, there is no mistake here.”

“I don’t have anything against the sex doll industry; the problem here is they did it without my consent, without my knowledge,” she said. “It’s doubly wrong because it’s connected to my identity — it’s not just a doll that looks like me or inspired by me; they never hid the fact it’s developed from me.”

The IDF veteran and computer programmer has sought legal action and is demanding that the company remove the item. She said she would not agree to leave her head on the market if offered a percentage of sales.

“No, I think first of all it should get off the shelves, and then maybe we could talk about what happened and how things went wrong and why,” she said. “I’m not talking about compensation, I think learning a lesson from this would be the best thing to come out of this story, and this is also what I hope to achieve by raising awareness — that is what I am trying to pursue.”

She said she wants to “bring a real conversation about our privacy, if we want to share ourselves online.”

“We need to have this conversation about how we can protect our identities,” she said.

Cohen Aris said that though she enjoyed programming, which she also did in the army, she had always wanted to be an actress and social media was a way of realizing that dream.

Her Instagram account now has over 1.1 million followers. It was one of her fans who first alerted her to the sex doll, in 2019, by sending her a link to a forum where there was a discussion about initial work on the toy.

“At the time they were talking about my head prototypes​… and a few months later it was a sex doll for sale, then I realized the scale of it and what was going on,” she recalled.

The “Yael” head was priced at $420 in 2019. A full Irontech Doll complete with “Yael” head is currently being marketed on websites for over $1,400.

Cohen Aris let her fans know her dismay, writing in a July 28 Instagram post, “I found out that a big company made a SEX DOLL about me WITHOUT my permission or me knowing.

“No it’s not a joke, It’s real. They even named the doll ‘Yael,'” she wrote. “I am still shocked. don’t really know what to do…”

A spokesperson for Irontech Dolls told the UK Daily Mail newspaper that similarities between the doll and Yael are a “coincidence.”

The company said it offers a range of styles and likenesses to suit customer preferences and that similarities to real people are just chance. Nonetheless, it said it will no longer use “Yael” as the name for the doll.

“In order to avoid misunderstanding, we won’t call this doll Yael anymore and ask all of our partners to stop using the name Yael,” the spokesperson told the newspaper. “We will inform all the partners to stop using this name and also using any photos relating to her.”

A search of the Irontech dolls website for “Yael” did not produce any results Tuesday, but the head, along with a doll, was still being marketed on other sites.

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