Scarlett Johansson Pulls Out of “Rub & Tug”

Scarlett Johansson attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center. Photo by Donato Sardella/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock (6052640aw)

Scarlett Johansson has exited Rug & Tug following controversy.

Johansson was set to star in the upcoming crime biopic Rug & Tug directed by Rupert Sanders. She was cast as Louis Jean Gill, a real-life trans-man who operated a massage parlor and prostitution business in 1970s Pittsburgh.

Following the casting news, Johansson and the film faced backlash for casting a non-trans actress in a trans role. Her initial statement following accusations sparked even more controversy that she was being insensitive to the issue at hand.

Following the debate, Johansson has since decided to withdraw from the movie. She made the following statement explaining her decision:

“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.

“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.”

She added: “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 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.”