Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of the upcoming film, “,” amid ongoing backlash for her plans to play the lead role of a transgender man. In statement to Out.com, Johansson said she has decided to “respectfully withdraw” her 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,” she said in the statement.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Johansson would play prostitution ring leader Dante “Tex” Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man. Transgender actors and advocates immediately criticized the production for not casting a trans actor in the role.
Johansson, who is also producing “Rub & Tug,” drew further criticism by issuing a statement to Bustle.com that said criticism should also be directed to other cisgender actors who received acclaim for playing of trans characters. Cisgender is a term to describe someone whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said on Twitter that both the announcement and those who spoke against the casting are “game changers for the future of transgender images in Hollywood.”
Read Johansson’s full statement below, via Out.com.
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.
According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release. 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. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.
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