Scarlett Johansson Responds to Backlash Over Playing Trans Man

Scarlett Johansson to play mob-connected massage parlour owner in Rub & Tug

Scarlett Johansson has found herself at the center of a casting controversy yet again.

Johansson accepting the role led to backlash over a cis individual playing a transgender character, a topic which has been in the news frequently over the past few years.

Gill was born Jean Gill, but identified as a man and ran an empire of illegal massage parlours during the 1970s, as well as an anabolic steroid ring that fuelled the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team.

"Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment."

Her reported response references other cisgender actors who have played transgender characters - and while their performances have all won awards, they have not all been without controversy.

In 2000, Hilary Swank won the Oscar for playing a female transiting into a male in the hit film "Boys Don't Cry", and five years later, Felicity Huffman portrayed a transgender man in the film "Transamerica".

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Scarlett's casting in the role received instant backlash from a number of social media users, but in a statement issued via her representative to Bustle on Wednesday, she dismissed any criticism.

April Reign, the activist who founded the #OscarsSoWhite movement, tweeted that Johansson, who is also a producer of "Rub & Tug", "is not hurting for money" and "doesn't need the increased profile". Though critics said an Asian actress should play the part, Johansson later told "Good Morning America" that she believed the character was "essentially identity-less". According to The Guardian, many fans pointed out that this is not Johansson's first "appropriation" role, citing her casting in Ghost in the Shell as similarly problematic since the original manga series featured a Japanese heroine.

"I would never attempt to play a person of a different race, obviously", she said.

Though some defended her choice to take on the controversial role.

After news broke that the actress is slated to play a transgender character in the film "Rub & Tug", critics immediately flocked to Twitter to express their disapproval of Johannson's new role. Rub & Tug isn't your movie, ScarJo.

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