Scarlett Johansson quitting role as transgender man in Rub and Tug has divided the internet
Scarlett Johansson stepping down from her role as a transgender man has split opinions across social media.
The 33-year-old angered LGBTQ activists when she accepted the role of Dante ‘Tex’ Gill upcoming film Rub and Tug, with many highlighting how tough is for trans actors to be cast.
On Friday Johansson revealed that she had taken the criticism on board, after initially defending herself, and had quit the role in the film that she’s producing.
But the decision has proven divisive.
Welcoming the landmark news, Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD said: “Scarlett Johansson’s announcement, together with the transgender voices who spoke out about this film, are game changers for the future of transgender images in Hollywood. Hollywood changed how Americans understand gay and lesbian lives, and TV is starting to do the same for transgender people with authentic transgender portrayals being major hits with critics and audiences. The film industry has a real opportunity to do the same.”
Other trans actors graciously paid tribute to the star also.
Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace tweeted: “This is an important moment for Hollywood. I absolutely applaud Scarlett Johansson’s statement. It is a brave and important move, and should be welcomed as such. The onus is now on the film-makers to think again, and hopefully they’ll find a trans star out there.”
Her Story star Jen Richards wrote: “To exhibit the spirit of generosity I earnestly want to see more of, I am going to take Scarlett Johansson at her word that she listened to feedback, realized that despite her intentions this was going to cause harm, and made the right decision to step down. Well done.”
And Jamie Clayton posted: “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!”
Some however feel the decision is unfair on Johansson.
One Twitter user who identifies as gay, posted: “Scarlett Johansson shouldn’t have dropped the role – she’s a phenomenal actress and if the talent isn’t available from within the trans community, I’d much rather the story be told than to not be told at all #ScarlettJohansson”
Another pointed out that many others before her have been rewarded for their portrayals: “I don’t understand why Scarlett Johansson gets backlash for playing a transgender role when people like Hilary Swank, Jared Leto weee able to perform and win Oscars. It’s called acting!”
On Friday Johansson issued a statement confirming the news.
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She told Out magazine: “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.”
She added: “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.”