Just last week, Scarlett Johansson came under intense fire for announcing her role in the upcoming film Rub & Tug as a transgender man. It paralleled last year's backlash for whitewashing in Ghost in the Shell, a film which she starred in by the same director as Rub & Tug, Rupert Sanders.
Actress Jamie Clayton (Sense8), as well as other trans actors from the series Transparent, spoke out on Twitter, asking Hollywood to "hire actors who happen to be trans for ALL KINDS of roles and [the issue of cis gender actors playing trans roles] goes away."
"That's the real issue," Clayton explained. "We can't even get in the room."
In response to the backlash, Johansson has left the project. “In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill," she told Out, "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," Johansson's official statement reads. "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," she continues. "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," she concluded, mentioning that her production company, These Pictures, will continue to work, "with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide."
Scarlett Johansson will be back in the Marvel Universe for her solo Black Widow film following her appearance in Avengers 4 come May 3th, 2019.