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Scarlett Johansson has withdrawn from playing a transgender man in the upcoming film Rub & Tug after facing backlash for taking on the project.
“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,” Johansson, 33, told Out.com in a statement on Friday. “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.”
The article goes on to state the following:
The biopic will center on the life of Jean Marie Gill, who was born female but identified as a male Dante “Tex” Gill and ran a massage parlor and prostitution business in Pittsburgh in the 1970s and ’80s. The July 2 announcement of Johansson’s casting was immediately met with criticism for not using a trans actor in the role.
Now after a group of trans male actors even posted their auditions for some of Johansson’s famous roles to make a point about taking parts that would be better suited for other actors, the four-time Golden Globe nominee has reconsidered.
“According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release,” Johansson continued in her statement to Out. “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.”
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