The actress received even more backlash when she defended herself as a cisgender woman playing a role perhaps best suited for a trans masculine actor, issuing a statement via representative that said, "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment," referring to three cis actors who had previously played trans roles.
Eventually Johansson withdrew herself from Rub & Tug, and issued a statement to Out magazine about her decision to leave the project a few weeks after she was cast. "In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante 'Tex' Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project.
In June 2018, when it was announced that Johansson was cast to play Dante "Tex" Gill, a transgender man who ran a string of massage parlors that were fronts for prostitution, in a film called Rub & Tug, she received plenty of backlash.
In an interview with As If magazine, she also said, "You know, as an actor I should be able to play any person, or any tree, or any animal, because that's my job and the requirements of my job. " The internet took the "tree" comment and ran with it, spawning memes and tweets that highlighted just how misguided she was to compare human beings to inanimate objects in that context.
When Vanity Fair noted that people will likely connect her "tone-deaf" comment to her defense of Allen, Johansson had a tepid reply. “Yes, they will.
However, the interviewer decided to bring up one more misjudgment Johansson has made since the 2018 Rub & Tug saga—her defense of Woody Allen, whose daughter Dylan Farrow alleges that he molested her when she was seven years old, in September 2019. “How do I feel about Woody Allen?
Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive," she said at the time.
I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it," she apologized. "I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing—and how they felt in general about cis actors playing—transgender people.
Scarlett Johansson speaks out in a new interview. https://t.co/gdrweUT5yo— W Magazine (@wmag) November 26, 2019