Scarlett Johansson has decided to pull out of the film “Rub & Tug” after her plans to portray a transgender man resulted in resistance and backlash.
According to IMDB, “Rub & Tug” is a film about a real-life transgender man named Dante “Tex” Gill who, while transitioning from female to male, becomes the crime kingpin of the 1970s Pittsburgh. Due to the fact that Johansson is a cisgender woman cast as a transgender male, Johansson was set up for backlash from the very start.
In a statement to Out Magazine on Friday, Johansson said that she would be withdrawing from the project due to “ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill.”
“I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,” Johannson said. “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.”
Some members of the transgender community have praised Johansson for bailing on the role.
Cheers to learning & growing! I hope you’re still producing the film Scarlett. What an incredible opportunity to put your words into action even further! YAS! Let’s get lunch and talk! #ScarlettJohansson https://t.co/rrLd6mDKDe
— Jamie Clayton (@MsJamieClayton) July 13, 2018
Jen Richards, the first transgender actress on “Nashville, was also thankful that, although controversial, a conversation is being had about the transgender community being underrepresented.
“LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release,” Richards said. “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.”
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