Scarlett Johansson drops out of trans role

Actress will no longer appear in Rub & Tug

by Jennie Kermode

Scarlett Johansson withdraws from Rub & Tug
Scarlett Johansson withdraws from Rub & Tug Photo: Gage Skidmore

Scarlett Johansson has announced that she will no longer be appearing in Rub & Tug, a biopic of mafioso Dante 'Tex' Gill, after protests about her casting as the famous gangster.

"I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project," she told Out.com. "Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community."

She acknowledged that an earlier statement on the subject, in which she referred to the casting of other cisgender actors in trans roles, had been insensitive, adding "I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues."

The initial casting decision was controversial because many felt that the role should have gone to a trans man, and there were further concerns that the film was reinterpreting Gill as a butch lesbian. Ito followed controversy over Johansson's casting in Ghost In The Shell, in a role that many people felt should have gone to an Asian woman.

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