The actor Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of the proposed Rub & Tug film. Johansson was set to portray a trans man, based on real-life trans individual, Dante Tex Gill.
Johansson received widespread criticism, off and online, for signing onto the proposed film.
Several prominent members of the trans community said it was inappropriate for the trans community (an underrepresented demographic in the entertainment industry) to be portrayed by a cisgender heterosexual woman such as Johansson.
Transparent actor Trace Lysette called Johansson’s move “A mess.”
Additionally, critics felt that Johansson was insensitive in her response, which directed critics to other cisgender actors who play transgender characters.
In a press release, Johansson said, “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.”
She said that she understood the criticism, why many people found her initial response “insensitive,” and why “many feel he [Tex] should be portrayed by a transgender person.”
The actor said she was “thankful” for the casting debate, and that she believed “all artists should be considered equally and fairly.”
Johansson’s proposed role as a transgender man came a few years after her turn in the Ghost in the Shell franchise. In that film, Johansson played a role that, in the original medium, was a Japanese female.