Scarlett Johansson responded to social media activists and busybodies after an online mob accused her of cultural appropriation. According to reports, Johansson is scheduled to portray a transgender person in an upcoming movie.
After several publications revealed the actress was set to embody a transgender character in the movie, Rub & Tug, critics online took to Twitter to disapprove of her new project.
While some were negative, many others defended her choice to take it on. In a statement released by Scarlett to the news outlet, Bustle, Johansson said that instead of criticising her, they should direct their concerns to the representatives of entertainers like Jared Leto, Jeffrey Tambor, and Felicity Huffman.
The statement was a clear reference to other performers who received glowing critical praise for their portrayals of transgender figures.
However, Scarlett evidently missed Hillary Swank, who performed as a transgender man in Boy’s Don’t Cry, perhaps one of the first movies to address transgenderism. The movie has since become a cult classic and was far ahead of its time.
Back in 2000, Hillary won the Academy Award for her role. The movie paved the way for Felicity Huffman, who played a transgender man in the film, Transamerica.
Dear #ScarlettJohansson, the way you can use your privilege as a white cis woman is to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities, not speak for them.
— Elise Bauman (@baumanelise) July 4, 2018
Additionally, Jared Leto won the Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club along with Matthew McConaughey. As fans of the actress know, Scarlett has received criticism for her roles before.
Back in 2015, Johansson took on an Asian character in Ghost In The Shell. Fans online created a petition to recast an Asian woman instead. Scarlett was very diplomatic in her response to all of the criticism, addressing their concerns directly in a conversation with a magazine.
In an interview with Marie Claire back in 2017, Scarlett said she would never “presume to play another race of a person.” Scarlett explained that getting the chance to play a female protagonist is what she chose instead.