Scarlett Johansson’s Casting As A Trans Man In Upcoming Film Ignites Controversy—And Her Response Made It Worse

First, she offended with her roll in Ghost in the Shell. Now, Scarlett Johansson is ticking off the trans community with her casting in Rupert Sanders’ latest crime biopic, Rub & Tug. Only a year after stepping into the role of a character who was primarily Asian in Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell, Johansson is slated to play Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender man who ran massage parlors that hid a prostitution ring in the 1970s.

The problem people have isn’t that Johansson is standing in as a man. It’s that Gill was transgender and many people feel that the actress who plays Black Widow is taking the role of a transgender actor.

Valerie Vza Complex hit the nail on the head with her reaction to the casting.

Once Johansson started to receive criticism for taking the roll, she responded in a way that exacerbated the issue. She pointed fingers at other actors who have portrayed transgender people in films.

Johansson’s representative released a statement and confirmed that it came from the actress:

Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.

The internet did not take kindly to her response, which avoided the issue and turned into a “What about…” moment.

She does have the occasional supporter, but it’s a rarity in the sea of criticism that’s flowing her way. 

CNN chimed in with a piece that not only spoke on the issue of cisgender actors playing trans people, but also included a list of transgender people that could have been cast, such as Chaz Bono, Ellie Desautels, Ian Harvie, and Emmett Jack Lundberg.

The likelihood that this controversy will push Johansson out of the role or have any effect on her future roles is highly unlikely, but the backlash probably won’t die down anytime soon.

There is humor to be found in some responses, specifically those lining up future roles for the actress.

H/T: IndieWire, CNN