Scarlett Johansson withdraws from transgender role

Scarlett Johansson.
Scarlett Johansson Photo credit: Getty

Scarlett Johansson has opted to withdraw from her upcoming role in a film where she was set to play a transgender man.

The Avengers actress was cast to play Dante "Tex" Gill in biopic film, Rub & Tug, about his life. Gill ran massage parlours in Pittsburgh in the 1970s as fronts for brothels and prostitution.

The casting of a non-transgender person for the role was met with immediate backlash from the LGBTQIA community. The actress' response was largely dismissive.

In a statement the actress said, "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment," a reference to other non-transgender actors who have played transgender roles.

Johansson later made another statement apologising for her misstep, saying she had learned from the community after her mistake.

She confirmed on Friday (local time) she would no longer be playing the role and was thankful it had "sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film".

This isn't the first time Johansson has faced casting controversy. Last year she was accused of "white-washing" for playing a role in Ghost in the Shell, a film based on a Japanese magna series.