Scarlett Johansson has reportedly exited an upcoming film project after backlash over her casting as a trans man. The actress was immediately hit with a barrage of criticism after taking the role of massage parlor owner Dante "Tex" Gill in the film Rub & Tug by the transgender community and others who saw the casting as insensitive. In a statement first released to Out.com, the actress spelled out the reasoning behind her decision. "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," she said.
As Deadline notes, the uproar came just a year after Johansson was assailed for her role in the film version of Ghost in the Shell, which was originally an Asian woman in manga and anime. Johannson did herself no favors with her first response to the more recent controversy. Her rep initially told Bustle.com that critics "can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment" in a reference to actors who've played trans characters in the past. Johansson said she now realizes "it was insensitive." (Read more Scarlett Johansson stories.)