Scarlett Johansson has backed out of Rub & Tug movie in which she was going to portray the role of a transgender man.
According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Johansson released a statement saying, “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.”
In Rub & Tug, Johansson was supposed to portray Jean Marie Gill, who succeeded in Pittsburgh’s 1970s and 1980s massage parlour and prostitution business by assuming the identity of a man, Dante ‘Tex’ Gill.
The project is helmed by Rupert Sanders who also directed Johansson in another controversial movie Ghost in a Shell.
After the project was announced on July 2, Johansson received immediate backlash for playing a transgender man, despite being a cisgendered woman, in the time when the cry for representation is stronger than ever.
Johansson responded at the time with a statement released to Bustle.com via her rep. It read, “Tell them they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”
This only fanned the fire.
A lot of transgender male actors have come forward to audition for the movie. The fate of casting for the same hangs in balance.