Scarlett Johansson has decided not to star in Rub & Tug, in which she was set to play a transgender man.
Scarlett has issued a statement in which she called the casting insensitive, and said she had learned a lot from the transgender community.
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 said in a statement to Out Magazine.
Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and Ive learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realise 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.
While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dantes 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.
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.
Rub & Tug is based on the true life story of Jean Marie Gill.
Gill was assigned female at birth, but assumed the identity of a man with the name Dante Tex Gill while running a massage parlour and sex work business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1970s and 80s.
It was never confirmed that Gill identified as trans, but in an obituary run by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, according to the Hollywood Reporter, they wrote that Gill wanted to be known as Mr. Gill, and that she may even have undergone the initial states of a sex change that made her appear masculine.