Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of movie Rub & Tug following backlash over her casting in the lead role as a transgender man.
“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,” Johansson said in a statement to Out.com.
The actress continued: “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.”
Johansson, 33, a cisgender woman — meaning her sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex — had been cast in the drama as Dante “Tex” Gill, a real-life person who owned a massage parlour in 1970s Pittsburgh. Gill was born a woman, but dressed like a man, had short hair and sideburns and preferred being called “Mr. Gill.”
While Gill was never officially identified as “transgender” (the term didn’t even exist then), all accounts of his life indicate that he presented outwardly and lived privately in the male gender.