Scarlett Johansson's Latest Role Has Activists Fuming

And she's firing back, too
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2018 1:40 PM CDT
Scarlett Johansson Takes Heat for Playing Trans Man
In this May 7, 2018 file photo, Scarlett Johansson wears a Marchesa gown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Scarlett, meet tweetstorm—again. Scarlett Johansson is under fire for accepting a trans male role in the upcoming film Rub & Tug only a year after playing a character that perhaps belonged to an Asian actor, Deadline reports. Johansson released a statement defending her decision to play the trans character, massage parlor owner Dante "Tex" Gill: "Tell [critics] that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment," the actor says via a representative, per Bustle. Those who take issue with the role are eagerly bringing up Ghost in the Shell, the 2017 film that featured Johansson as a Japanese character and fizzled at the box office.

"Scarlett Johansson received considerable backlash for Ghost in the Shell, when she played a whitewashed Asian character. The movie tanked," tweets April Reign, the activist behind #OscarsSoWhite. "Undeterred, she has teamed up WITH THE SAME DIRECTOR to play a trans male character in Rub & Tug." Another tweeter fired off, "What's next? Is Scarlett Johansson going to play Barack Obama?" Others note that there are trans actors who might play Gill, including Ellie Desautels, Chaz Bono, Emmett Jack Lundberg, and Ian Harvie, CNN reports. "We need roles written for everyone—and casting directors should then know how to cast those roles accordingly," Desautels told GLAAD in March.
(More transgender stories.)

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