Scarlett Johansson Quits Role After Relentless Bullying from LGBT Activists


Scarlett Johansson has taken herself out of a role where she was to play a transgender gangster, the BBC reported Friday.

The actress was set to play Dante “Tex” Gill — a Pittsburgh crime boss who was born a girl named Jean Grill — in the 1970s period piece “Rub & Tug.” However, LGBT activists besieged Johansson for her decision to take the role instead of leaving it open for a transgender actor. The controversy eventually prompted her to take herself off the project.

Johannsson originally defended her right to the role, issuing a statement to Bustle magazine that other actors have played transgender characters successfully, and her role would be no different. That was too logical to last long in the face of liberal bullying, though, and Johansson has backed down.

“I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement,” Johansson told Out Magazine.

“While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person.”

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She added that she was “thankful that this casting debate… has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”

The move comes after a massive backlash against traditionally liberal Hollywood on social media, particularly on Twitter, that a famous actress would even consider acting as a trans individual.

“I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis roles, but we know that’s not the case,” trans actress Trace Lysette tweeted. “A mess.”

Lysette was far from the only one loudly declaring their outrage, because if there’s any kind of social justice disturbance in the Twitter body politic there’s obviously going to be a cytokine storm in response.

Some users, however, disagreed — although these voices weren’t enough to drown out the tweetstorm.

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Scarlett Johansson wasn’t the only person who ended up leaving a job over this whole affair. Business Insider writer Daniella Greenbaum left the magazine after it pulled down an article in which she stood up for the actress.

Do you think Scarlett Johansson should have stepped away from this role?

“Scarlett Johansson is the latest target of the social-justice warrior mob. The actress is being chastised for, well, acting,” Greenbaum wrote, according to National Review’s Jonah Goldberg.

When Greenbaum’s article was pulled down, she sent in her resignation and posted the letter online.

“My judgment: Yes. A woman can play a man or a trans man,” she wrote.

“I believe ‘safe spaces’ are an inane concept that belong nowhere near our institutions of higher learning. I believe that people should be admitted to universities on the basis of merit, not depending on the color of their skin.” Check out the letter here. It’s well worth reading.:

This also isn’t the first time that Johansson has gotten backlash from left-leaning Twitterati over her choice of roles. She faced similar criticism for last year’s “Ghost in the Shell,” a film adapted from a much-beloved anime. Anime, of course, hails from Japan, which led to allegations of “whitewashing.”

Apparently, cis-washing is just a bridge too far. The film will probably still be made, although it’s questionable who will end up watching it. The reason for picking Johansson is a fairly obvious one: The story of Dante “Tex” Gill isn’t all that inherently interesting, and certainly not one that would make myself or most moviegoers willing to pay to see a film called “Rub & Tug” without some big names attached to it.

That big transgender name, alas, does not exist in Hollywood yet. In years it may, although I question whether that will make Hollywood’s fixation with identity politics more palatable. We can take solace in the fact that most of America and some media voices don’t share their views.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture