Scarlett Johansson’s decision to exit “Rub and Tug” has been met with praise from both GLAAD and Hollywood’s transgender community. Her casting as Dante “Tex” Gill in the film had ben met with fierce backlash, as Gill was likely transgender and many were angered that yet another trans role had gone to a cisgender actor; the initial response from Johansson’s representative — “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment” — only exacerbated the situation.
Now that she’s exited the project and apologized for her “insensitive” comment, however, Johansson appears to have smoothed things over.
Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD released the following statement:
“Scarlett Johansson’s announcement, together with the transgender voices who spoke out about this film, are game changers for the future of transgender images in Hollywood. Hollywood changed how Americans understand gay and lesbian lives, and TV is starting to do the same for transgender people with authentic transgender portrayals being major hits with critics and audiences. The film industry has a real opportunity to do the same.”
A number of transgender actors responded positively as well:
To exhibit the spirit of generosity I earnestly want to see more of, I am going to take Scarlett Johansson at her word that she listened to feedback, realized that despite her intentions this was going to cause harm, and made the right decision to step down. Well done.
— Jen Richards (@SmartAssJen) July 13, 2018
This is an important moment for Hollywood. I absolutely applaud Scarlett Johansson’s statement. It is a brave and important move, and should be welcomed as such. The onus is now on the film-makers to think again, and hopefully they’ll find a trans star out there. 😀 https://t.co/kvOtazNPDU
— Annie Wallace (@anniewallace) July 13, 2018
— Trace Lysette (@tracelysette) July 13, 2018
This is how you make a good apology and do the right thing once you know what the right thing is. I appreciate #ScarJo in this moment for listening and learning and letting go to let change happen. https://t.co/lkajeq3Rhz
— ScottTurnerSchofield (@turnerschofield) July 13, 2018
Cheers to learning & growing! I hope you’re still producing the film Scarlett. What an incredible opportunity to put your words into action even further! YAS! Let’s get lunch and talk! #ScarlettJohansson https://t.co/rrLd6mDKDe
— Jamie Clayton (@MsJamieClayton) July 13, 2018
Hollywood changed how Americans understand gay and lesbian lives, and TV is starting to do the same for transgender people with authentic transgender portrayals being major hits with critics and audiences. The film industry has a real opportunity to do the same.
— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) July 13, 2018