After major controversy and backlash over Scarlett Johansson’s latest casting as a transgender man in Rub & Tug, the actress has decided to leave the role.
On Friday, July 13, the popular star released a statement regarding her exit from the film as Dante Tex Gill, saying, “In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project. Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive.”
She continued, “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues. According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release. While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”
Johansson concluded her statement with, “I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.”
As previously reported, upon hearing of the actress’s casting, there was instant backlash from the LGBTQ+ community. “Actors who are trans never even get to audition FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN ROLES OF TRANS CHARACTERS. THATS THE REAL ISSUE. WE CANT EVEN GET IN THE ROOM,” Sense8 actress Jamie Clayton tweeted. “Cast actors WHO ARE TRANS as NON TRANS CHARACTERS. I DARE YOU.”