Scarlett Johansson Drops Transgender Role Following Backlash

"I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project."

Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of upcoming biopic Rub & Tug following intense backlash over her being cast in the lead role of Dante "Tex" Gill, a transgender man.

The 33-year-old released a statement to Out magazine on July 13 saying that she will no longer appear in the film.

“I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues,” she said.

“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.”

This comes just over a week after the actor's rep made a controversial comment in defense of Johansson's new role.

The announcement that the Ghost In The Shell star -- who was widely criticised for playing an Asian character in the film -- would re-partner with director Rupert Sanders to take on yet another problematic role was unsurprisingly met with criticism.

Many people rightly pointed out that a cis actor cast to play a trans role is simply not good enough in 2018, when trans actors are routinely shut out of the majority of roles in Hollywood and beyond.

It seems though that Johansson has since had a change of heart, a move which is being welcomed by many, including members of the LGBTQI community such as transgender writer and actor Jen Richards.

There is no word yet on which actor will replace Johansson in the role.

Here is her full statement to Out:

"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."

Feature image: Getty.