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Trans actors explain why Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Rub & Tug’ role is like a slap in the face – ANITH
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Trans actors explain why Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Rub & Tug’ role is like a slap in the face

Trans actors explain why Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Rub & Tug’ role is like a slap in the face

Scarlett Johansson is getting heat from trans actors for her new role.

Image: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The controversy over another bad Scarlett Johansson casting decision continues to reverberate as several prominent transgender actors have spoken out about her upcoming role as a trans man. 

When it was announced that Johansson had signed on to star as real-life massage parlor owner Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender man, in Rub & Tug, the casting was met with backlash, much like Johansson’s casting in Ghost in the Shell, where she played a Japanese manga character.

Johansson stirred up a bigger ruckus with her tone-deaf response to the criticism, issued by her rep to Bustle:

Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment

Prominent transgender actors took their issues with the casting to Twitter. For them, the problem is multi-layered: Cisgender actors are paid to play trans people, but trans actors aren’t cast in cisgender roles, and just because other actors had been applauded for trans roles in the past, doesn’t mean the poor decision-making should continue. 

Transparent‘s Trace Lysette and Ian Harvie were among those who took Johansson to task.

Indya Moore, of FX’s new hit drama POSE, pointed out how invaluable a trans actor’s own experiences are to their performance.

And Sense 8’s Jamie Clayton tweeted that transgender actors still face a steep uphill climb in getting auditions to play trans roles. Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black retweeted Clayton’s comment.

So far, neither Johansson nor her rep have responded to comments about this latest round of criticism.

It’s also noteworthy that Rub & Tug is being directed by Rupert Sanders, who also directed the Ghost in the Shell.

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Anith Gopal
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