Scarlett Johansson backed down. Johansson was accused of whitewashing the character in last year’s Ghost In The Shell, but she chose to continue with the role anyway. But this time, after being accused of stealing a trans-person’s role in Rub And Tug, she chose to step down instead after a few days of reflection.
Scarlett chose to exit the production today, directed by Rupert Sanders, a movie focusing on the trans owner of a massage parlor. After it was revealed that she would star in the movie, she faced an immediate backlash online.
Initially, Scarlett insinuated their cries were hypocritical because many other entertainers had done the same thing, including, Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, Hillary Swank, and Felicity Huffman.
Scarlett Johansson Backs Out of Transgender Role in 'Rub and Tug' Amid Backlash https://t.co/6i7YouoyMR
— TMZ (@TMZ) July 13, 2018
However, she ended up changing her mind, and released a statement to Out.com, where she stated that she had “decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project.”
Deadline reported on the 2nd of July that the production company, New Regency, had fought hard for the package deal which included Johannson as the main lead and Sanders as the director.
Johansson added that she realized, after speaking with people in the transgender community, that her casting was insensitive. She stated, “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”
In a report from GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ characters in film dropped around 40% in 2017 in comparison to the previous year. Scarlett, because of that fact, realized it would maybe be a better idea for her not to be in the movie, and for film executives to choose someone else instead.
The criticism online has been divided for the most part, with some people claiming that an artist should have the freedom to play any role they choose, while others say it was a form of “cultural appropriation.”