Scarlett Johansson’s new character as transgender creates a Backlash

Scarlett Johansson is taking heat after she signed on to play a role of a Transgender. The online backlash was led by transgender actors, who argued that such casting decisions take opportunities away from members of marginalized communities.

Last Tuesday, it was announced that the three-time Golden Globe nominee would star in Rub & Tug, taking on the role of Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender man operating a massage parlor with ties to Pittsburgh’s underground sex industry in the 1970s.

The inevitable backlash was swift in its onset: Dante “Tex” Gill is a transgender man; Scarlett Johansson is a cisgender woman—why not find a trans actor to play the part?

Of course, Johansson was ready for the wave of hate—she dealt with similar backlash over her portrayal of a character in the 2017 Manga-inspired film Ghost in the Shell (also directed by Rub & Tug’s Rupert Sanders), which critics suggested should have been played by an Asian actor.

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