Scarlett Johansson’s Rep Reacts to Controversy Over the Actress Being Cast as a Transgender Man

Scarlett Johansson attends the 2018 premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' in Los Angeles, California.
Scarlett Johansson attends the 2018 premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' in Los Angeles, California. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Hitting back. Scarlett Johansson‘s rep responded to the backlash surrounding the actress’ casting as a transgender man in the upcoming film Rub & Tug.

“Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” Johansson’s representative said in a statement obtained by Bustle on Tuesday, July 3. Tambor, Leto and Huffman played transgender characters in TransparentDallas Buyers Club and Transamerica, respectively.

The Avengers: Infinity War star, 33, was cast as Dante “Tex” Gill in Rub & Tug, Deadline announced on Monday, July 2. Gill, who identified as a man, was born Jean Marie Gill. Backlash ensued from those who believe the part should be played by a transgender actor.

Some industry professionals, including Sense8 actress Jamie Clayton, raised another issue: the adversity transgender actors deal with during the casting process. “Actors who are trans never even get to audition FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN ROLES OF TRANS CHARACTERS. THATS THE REAL ISSUE. WE CANT EVEN GET IN THE ROOM,” Clayton tweeted on Tuesday. “Cast actors WHO ARE TRANS as NON TRANS CHARACTERS. I DARE YOU.”

Transparent star Trace Lysette chimed in with similar sentiments. “Oh word?? So you can continue to play us but we can’t play y’all? Hollywood is so f—ked…” she tweeted. “I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis roles, but we know that’s not the case. A mess.”

She continued: “And not only do you play us and steal our narrative and our opportunity but you pat yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived… so twisted. I’m so done…”

While some were outraged by the Rough Night actress’ casting and others joked about her track record of playing roles against type, some defended Johansson, claiming that the uproar was not her fault.

This is not the first time Johansson has been at the center of a casting controversy. The actress faced criticism for her role in Ghost in the Shell, in which she played a traditionally Japanese character. Coincidentally, the 2017 film and Rub & Tug both count Rupert Sanders as their director.

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