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Scarlett Johansson opts out of trans role in Rub & Tug after huge backlash

The actor had been roped in to play the role of crime kingpin Dante 'Tex' Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man

Nanda Das @nanda1das 14 July 2018, 1:27 PM
Johansson's casting drew criticism from the LGBTQ community, including trans celebs

Johansson's casting drew criticism from the LGBTQ community, including trans celebs Image:Facebook

Social media has once again shown its power. After the recent uproar on Twitter and Facebook over Scarlett Johansson's controversial casting as a trans person in Rupert Sanders' upcoming film Rub & Tug, the actor has now opted out of the role.

Johansson's casting as Dante 'Tex' Gill, who owned a string of massage parlours in Pittsburgh that were fronts for prostitution in the 1970s and 1980s and wanted to be referred to as Mr Gill, came at a moment when the LGBTQ community and its allies are encouraging the casting of trans actors in transgender roles. Several trans actors such as Trace Lysette and Jamie Clayton had come out in the open and slammed the casting.

In a statement, 33-year-old Johansson said her decision was made "in light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting."

"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 said.

The Avengers star also expressed her love for the trans community, adding that she felt grateful for the continuing "conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood".

"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 per cent in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release," Johansson stated.

ScarJo said she now completely understands why a trans actor should play Dante's role.

"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..." Johansson added in her statement.

Her replacement is yet to be announced by the makers of the movie. 

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