Scarlett Johansson

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Scarlett Johansson Pulls Out of Transgender Drama After Backlash

July 13, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Scarlett Johansson has pulled out of the film "Rub & Tug" after her plans to portray a transgender man prompted a backlash.

In a statement to Out.com on Friday, Johansson says she's withdrawing from the project "in light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting." Last week, Johansson said she would star as prostitution ring leader Dante "Tex" Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man.

When transgender actors and advocates questioned the casting, Johansson initially responded with a statement that criticism "can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman's reps." All are actors who won acclaim for playing transgender characters.

Johansson previously came under fire for playing an originally Asian character in the 2017 film "Ghost in the Shell."