Scarlett Johansson is under fire again.
No less than a year after her controversial role in Rupert Sanders’ adaptation of legendary Japanese manga, Ghost in the Shell, for which she was accused of whitewashing, the blockbuster star has unsurprisingly sparked outrage for signing on to play a transgender man in Sanders’ follow-up, Rub and Tug.
The film is based on the true life story of Jean Marie Gill, who later became Dante “Tex” Gill, head of a Pittsburgh massage parlor and prostitution operation throughout ’70s and ‘80s. According to The Hollywood Reporter, an obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Gill “wanted to be known as ‘Mr. Gill’,” and “may even have undergone the initial states of a sex change…”
Many feel this role should be played by a trans actor, particularly #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign, who argued on Twitter that Johansson is “not hurting for money,” is already a “well-established actress,” and “doesn’t need the increased profile.”
On Tuesday, Johansson responded to the backlash in a statement provided by her representative (via Bustle), which reads: “Tell them they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” referencing similar roles played by cisgender talent in Transparent, Dallas Buyers Club, and Transamerica, respectively.
Needless to say, that didn’t solve the problem…
Film’s clearly off to a great start.