Scarlett Johansson will no longer star in “Rub and Tug,” an upcoming film about transgender massage parlor owner Dante “Tex” Gil, after swift backlash followed the announcement of her casting.
“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,” she wrote in the 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.”
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,” she continued in her statement on Friday. “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,” she added.