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Scarlett Johansson Faces Backlash for Upcoming Role as Transgender Man & Releases a Response

Scarlett Johansson Faces Backlash for Upcoming Role as Transgender Man & Releases a Response

Scarlett Johansson has signed on to play a transgender man in the upcoming movie Rub & Tug and people are not happy with the casting choice.

The 33-year-old actress will play “Jean Marie Gill, a person assigned female at birth who succeeded in Pittsburgh’s 1970s and 1980s massage parlor and prostitution business by assuming the identity of a man, Dante ‘Tex’ Gill,” according to THR.

The movie will be directed by Rupert Sanders, who she worked with on Ghost in the Shell, another movie that faced casting controversy.

People on social media are calling out Scarlett and the filmmakers for casting a cisgender woman to play the role instead of a trans man.

Bustle reached out to Scarlett‘s rep for a comment and received the following response: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman‘s reps for comment.”

Tambor, Leto, and Huffman all played transgender characters and received awards and acclaim for their work.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Movies, Rupert Sanders, Scarlett Johansson

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  • tay

    “other people did this shitty thing, so why shouldn’t I?” — ScarJo

  • 777

    No disrespect, but who out there is a good trans actress? And don’t tell me Laverne Cox because she’s shit.
    This isn’t the same as casting her to play an asian woman. Any actor, male or female, gay or straight, should have the ability to portray an LGTBQ characters without facing backlash.

  • DEADP00L

    I dont know if this is trans though…she’s ‘assuming’ the identity of a man?

    So…she’s FAKING being a man. Like Mulan kind of deal? She’s not actually transitioning…. or am I missing something?

    Also, what a douche statement to make. She’s always come across as a cold, crass, cruel and totally heartless anyway. Nobody has ever consulted the trans community when all those actors played their characters and I dont know if any of them were actually transgender anyway.

  • Lewisbieber

    She looks half way there with that tragic hairstyle

  • HG

    ScarJo is so contradictory with her stances. She’ll be out there yelling about inequality and unfair treatment of women, but she won’t say anything bad about Woody Allen, won’t recognize why people were upset with Ghost in the Shell, and now this. I’m not sure what the best way to handle this film is, but at least be sensitive instead of dismissing people’s concerns.

  • Maria M.

    Exactly. They need someone who can actually act and is a big name that can sell the tickets at the same time. They don’t have much choice. Economic part of that equation is the most important thing. They could find and hire some new, unknown transgender actor that is as talented as ScarJo and Leto but they need to sell the film. They don’t make films to promote important social causes but to make money. Studios are businesses not non-profit activist organizations. To criticize them for casting her is to criticize capitalism.

  • USWeeklyHatesComments

    Reading the description of this with the word assuming and then reading Dante’s obituary is confusing because it hints that maybe she started transition surgery but it doesn’t confirm it. Her name at birth was Lois Jean Gill, she died in 2003 and they identify her as a her/she/Ms. in the obituary, granted this was 2003. It said she was a lesbian who liked to dress manly and look manly and be referred to as Dante but I don’t know, just from the couple things I’ve read, I don’t know if she felt like a he, as in born male in a female body or felt both female and male and just liked to dress manly.

    Maybe I need to research more but I don’t think we know the whole story.

  • USWeeklyHatesComments

    Wouldn’t it be a trans actor? The role is female to male not male to female.

    At times, I do think people get uppity and this has me 50/50. On one hand, they picked her because of her name and I’m sure for even the controversy, people will talk and that means people will see the movie which means money and money is the only reason to make movies.

    But the other half is questioning why aren’t there more trans actors and actresses. It’s quite annoying to keep picking from the same lot of 10-15 actors and actresses to play every role that you can think of and not be creative. Every single star was a nobody first, the right movie and script and team catapulted their career and made them their name.

    It’s sad that no one making this movie thought of that, to make a movie about someone trans played by a trans actor. Something no one’s doing yet, they could be at the ground floor of seeing this new way of acting, that OMG stop the blackface, minorities can actually play minorities and we can still make money! Trans actors can play roles, whether it’s a story of someone transgender or it’s just an actor being an actor playing any role. Money can ne made because the people are talking and demanding it.

  • Rose Vasquez

    Cant compare Jared Leto and Jeffrey Tambor, they were playing men who dressed as women, none of the characters had the surgery to remove their genitals. She is playing a MAN who is now a woman. As far as I know, she wasnt born a man. Comparing this shitshow of a casting to Jared Leto’s performance is like saying a gay character can only play gay characters and cant play a straight character

  • Rose Vasquez

    Same with Felicity Hoffman, a woman that wanted to be a man. Johanson will be playing an already operated, fully transitioned woman which she is not. She is a biological woman, I reaaaaaaaaaaaally hope she backs out of the movie

  • Rose Vasquez

    How about the one from Sense 8? Cant remember the name. Whether I agree with you or not about Laverne Cox, Im pretty sure the character Johanson is going to still from the trans community is white, so no go for Cox.

  • cutitout

    The person who she is portraying was not trans. Tex was a butch lesbian. Sexuality and gender is and has been hella confusing. Just because a man prefers to wear women’s clothing does not make them trans or vice versa. Even if they want to be called Miss, that still does not mean anything. How many times have you heard a gay man call his gay friends “girl” ??? Does not mean any of them are trans.

  • cutitout

    She was not faking being a man she just took on a stereotypically masculine role in life but she was not necessarily trans. There are plenty of lesbiuans that are just masculine who wear men’s clothes, cut their hair short, etc. but are not trans.

  • Wendy

    “The 33-year-old actress will play “Jean Marie Gill, a person assigned female at birth who succeeded in Pittsburgh’s 1970s and 1980s massage parlor and prostitution business by assuming the identity of a man, Dante ‘Tex’ Gill,” according to THR.”

    I think you have it the other way around. She is playing someone born female.

  • Rose Vasquez

    Ohhhhh, I read it wrong on a different site, my bad. Never mind, then I dont see the problem with her. People might still be upset that she played an asian character.

  • NerdyBirdy

    stupid ass haters. sjw’s are annoying af

  • Anna

    Your post is absolutely perfect.

  • jen kim

    race, gender… next she is going to portray a bird in real life and defend her backing by… “direct your comment to Big Bird”

  • John Black

    why’s a shitty thing? she’s giving voice to those people. She’s a huge celebrity that will have a lot of publicity that we all know if someone trangender did it. It wouldn’t have the same magnitude.

  • Amber

    Very true. She is outraged when it suits her, but won’t acknowledge her own shortcomings, including the fact that she worked with Woody Allen.

  • Amber

    See Elliot Fletcher, and Daniela Vega.

  • Amber

    I agree with you that I’m sick of seeing the same A-list actors/actresses in major roles. George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, (she is incredible in Big Little Lies, though) Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman etc. etc. there is SO much talent out there that extends beyond the A-list actors. I wish Hollywood would give the lesser-known actors a chance.

  • tay

    giving a transgender actor the opportunity would actually have a much bigger magnitude because it’s never done in big-budget movies. the trans community does not need a cis person to provide them with a voice. they need studios and society to LISTEN to THEIR voices.

    trans people are not given the same opportunities as cis people, so cis people should not take the limited roles out there.

    just as it’s wrong for a white person to portray a person of colour, it is wrong for cis people to play trans people. of course ScarJo has no qualms about doing either, so…