Transgender Casting Row: Scarlett Johansson Exits Rub & Tug

Ria Das
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Scarlett Johansson Gets $15 Million

Following the controversy over transgender casting, Scarlett Johansson has exited from Rub & Tug, in which she was playing the lead role. Directed by Rupert Sanders, the film would have seen the Avengers star playing transgender man Dante “Tex” Gill.


The actress found herself in the mud of criticism for more than a week after she courted controversy while signing the film based on a transgender man's story. Many transgender groups and activists slammed her for taking up the role when it could have easily been done by a transgender person, a source confirmed to Variety.

“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 told Out Magazine in a statement. “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. According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release.”

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A transgender actress wrote on Twitter:

Another transgender actress tweeted:

She added, “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, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”

The statement continues, “I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.”

Feature Image Credit: SELF Magazine

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#transgender Scarlett Johansson Hollywood actresses Rub & Tug transgender casting backlash Transgender Casting Row