Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of a transgender role after intense backlash from the LGBTQ community

by Asfa Shakeel

Scarlett Johansson has dropped out the role in which she would have been playing a transgender man after intense backlash from the community.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson speaks during the Women’s March Los Angeles 2018 on January 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

Johansson was cast to play Dante ‘Tex’ Grill, a 1970s Pittsburgh crime boss. He was born Jean Gill. When the decision was announced, there was heavy criticism that Johansson was not fit for the role, given her lack of understanding of the experiences of transgender people. Criticism was also raised over the fact that a large number of transgender actors had been overlooked in favor of Johansson.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson attends the American Museum Of Natural History’s 2017 Museum Gala at American Museum of Natural History on November 30, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

The actress recently decided to give up the role, even though earlier she had defended her casting. Speaking to Out Magazine, she said, “I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement. 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. I am thankful that this casting debate… has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson speaks during the Women’s March Los Angeles 2018 on January 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

People had a variety of reactions to Johansson dropping out of the movie. While some applauded her for listening to backlash and doing the right thing, others believed that she had stepped down unnecessarily due to pressure exerted by the LGBTQ community. Yet others also said that since the actor’s job is essentially to mirror a character, it is redundant to criticize them for what kind of character they portray.

Johansson has been criticized for taking inappropriate roles before as well, such as when she was cast in the remake of the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell. She was cast as a character that was written as Asian, and was accused of ‘whitewashing’.



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