Intense Backlash Has Led Scarlett Johansson To Drop Her Transgender Role in the Film RUB & TUG


It’s been about a week since Scarlett Johansson was announced to be playing a transgender man for the Rupert Sanders film Rub & Tug. She has received a lot of backlash from the transgender community and others for being a cisgender actor playing a transgender person. The film was to be based on a true story of Jean Marie Gill, a cross-dressing Mob operator who ran a massage parlor in the 1970s.

Originally, Johansson defended her acceptance of the role by citing other cisgender actors who had played transgender characters such as Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent. However, Johansson has now decided to leave the role as she told Out:

“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. 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,” the statement continues. “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.”

What do you think about Johansson stepping out of the role? Is there a transgender actor you think of that would be good choice to take it on?

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