Scarlett Johansson has garnered slowly for herself a reputation she may not necessarily want, after accepting not just the role of the Asian protagonist in Ghost in the Shell (Scarlett Johansson is white), but then picking up the the role of Danté “Tex” Gill, a trans man who owned a series of massage parlors (Scarlett Johansson is cisgendered). The casting announcement immediately led to pushback as those who heard the story were confused why the role wouldn’t go to a trans male actor. Johansson’s reaction to the news was a real “Let them eat cake” of reactions to transphobia, saying: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”
Forget for a moment that at least two of those guys you probably shouldn’t want to associate with, even the disgraced Tambor stated, upon winning an Emmy, he hopes that he is the last cisgendered actor to play a transgender role, implying trans roles should go to trans performers and actors.
Well, following the backlash, Scarlett Johansson has made the right choice and dropped out of “Rub and Tug”. Johannsson has released a statement calling her earlier comments insensitive, and saying she believes that there should be a greater percentage of trans roles and actors in Hollywood, telling Out.com:
“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. 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.”
A major Hollywood biopic starring and about a transgender person would be incredible and an important step forward in the media in an era where the government vilifies them, and many are still embarrassingly ignorant about what it means to be transgender.
Scarlett Johansson has made the right move, and we hope that more transgender roles are cast and created in Hollywood. We want to congratulate Scarlett Johansson for no longer being… ‘complicit’…
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