Skip Nav
TV
10 Cast Members You Can Expect to See on The Hills Reboot
First Man Trailer and Australian Release Date
Movies
Ryan Gosling Shoots For the Moon in the New Trailer For Damien Chazelle's First Man
Reading List
10 of 2018's Best Fantasy Novels Guaranteed to Blow Your Mind
Movies
25 Movies That You Absolutely Have to Watch in Your 20s
TV
In Light of Amazon's New Series The Romanoffs, Let's Revisit the Legend of Anastasia

Scarlett Johansson Issues Apology About Rub & Tug Movie

Scarlett Johansson Apologises For Accepting the Role of a Transgender Man

In early July, Scarlett Johansson faced quite a bit of backlash when news broke of her next big role: she had signed on to play a transgender man in Rub & Tug. The film would tell the true story of Dante "Tex" Gill, who prospered in Pittsburgh's massage parlour and prostitution business in the '70s and '80s. After news of the casting surfaced, the internet was incensed. Many transgender actors vocalized their unhappiness, since Hollywood has a history of excluding transgender talent from telling the stories they would arguably be best equipped to tell. To make matters worse, Johansson used this fact as ammunition in her statement, not realising that it was a historically problematic Hollywood precedent. "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment," her rep said.

Finally, after more than a week of heated outcries against the casting, Johansson dropped out of the film and released a lengthy apology. And yes, she even apologised for the misguided statement put out by her rep.

"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 realise 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. 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."

Johansson's decision to drop out and apologise is encourageing, especially since she participated in a white-washing of the popular anime series, Ghost in the Shell, in 2017. At the time, Rupert Sanders (who is also set to direct Rub & Tug), adamantly defended the casting choice. At this point, it's unclear if this project will move forward with a transgender actor or sink without a trace. While we certainly hope it's not the latter, we're glad to see that Johansson has decided to bring attention to an important issue, and that she's trying to be part of the solution.

More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Interviews 2018
Aladdin Reboot Photos
How Old Is Mackenzie Foy?
Twilight Reunion New York Comic Con 2018
A Star Is Born "Look What I Found" Music Video
Twitter Reactions to Taylor Swift's Political Instagram Post
Is A Star Is Born Based on a True Story?
How Did Bradley Cooper Meet Lady Gaga?
Will There Be a Pitch Perfect 4?
Bad Times at the El Royale Cast
How Did Scarlett Johannson and Colin Jost Meet?
Scarlett Johansson's Back Tattoo
Latest Entertainment
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds