In the suggestively titled Rub & Tug, Scarlett Johansson was set to play what would've been one of the most controversial roles of her career, a transgender man and crime boss named Dante "Tex" Gill. In response to an outcry from the transgender community, she's decided to back away from the role.
Out magazine first reported this development and quoted from Johansson's statement regarding her decision.
"In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill," the statement read, "I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project.”
Johansson continued on to say that our "cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance," and she has "learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive.”
The actress's statement then addressed the how the issue impacted the trans community and the film industry:
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.
This isn't the first time Johansson has faced such controversy. When she was cast to play the originally Asian character Motoko Kusanagi in the movie version of the manga Ghost in the Shell she faced considerable backlash and filmmakers were accused of "whitewashing" the role.
However you feel about this controversy, you have to admit Scarlett Johansson has a lot of moral fiber and is pretty thoughtful about how she handles her career. Actors at her level of success could just ignore such things and collect a big-ass paycheck before moving along.
Kudos to her for listening to concerned voices and trying to do the right thing.