Scarlett Johansson says she 'mishandled' backlash over her being cast in transgender movie role
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Scarlett Johansson said this week she “mishandled” the backlash earlier this year to her being cast as a transgender man in a movie, saying she was insensitive to the complaints.

Johansson pulled out of the production of “Rub and Tug” in July after she was slammed by critics who said the role of Dante "Tex" Gill — a crime kingpin in the 1970s and 1980s — should go to a transgender actor.

She had originally tried to brush off the controversy, responding to angry comments by naming male actors who were known for transgender roles.


“Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” she said in an initial statement.

“In hindsight, I mishandled that situation,” Johansson told Vanity Fair in an interview published Tuesday. “I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it. I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing—and how they felt in general about cis actors playing—transgender people. I wasn’t aware of that conversation—I was uneducated.”

The “JoJo Rabbit” star later reversed her decision and pulled out of the project, saying that it should go to a member of the transgender community. 

Johansson now says she was “tone-deaf” on the issues, telling Vanity Fair that she has “learned a lot” since.

“I misjudged that…. It was a hard time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling,” she said.

Production company New Regency won bidding for "Rub and Tug," which was set to be directed by Rupert Sanders, according to a July report from Variety.

However, current production plans remain unclear. The Hill has reached out to New Regency for comment.

Sanders and Johansson both previously came under fire when they were accused of "white-washing" in the 2017 adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell," with Johansson playing a role that many expected to go to an Asian actress.