News & Opinion | July 6, 2018 11:02 am

Scarlett Johansson Issues Terse Response After Transgender Role Backlash

The starlet's critics are mystified at her response.

Scarlett Johansson
Actress Scarlett Johansson attends the premiere of Disney and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War' on April 23, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Scarlett Johansson issued an acerbic response to critics after it was announced that she will portray a transgender man in the upcoming film Rub & Tug, a movie based on the true story of Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender massage parlor owner. Backlash from transgender actors and allies are frustrated that a trans actor was not considered for the role.

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

Tambor, Leto and Huffman have all portrayed transgender characters onscreen, Vox reports, although like Johansson, they are cisgender, or people whose sense of personal identity and gender correlates with their sex assigned at birth.

This also isn’t Johansson’s first foray into controversial casting. She and director Rupert Sanders, who will also join her in Rub & Tug, were accused of white-washing the protagonist in Ghost in the Shell, which Vox describes as a “canonically Japanese character.”