Scarlett Johansson Under Fire For Transgender Role In New Film


Scarlett johansson

Actress Scarlett Johansson has faced a backlash for her role as crime kingpin and massage parlor owner Dante “Tex” Gill in upcoming drama Rub & Tug.

The film will follow Gill’s successful chain of massage parlors that were fronts for sex work and his encounters with the mob in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1970s and 1980s.

Johansson’s casting in the role was announced on Monday, but many on social media have said that because Gill lived as a transmasculine man the role should’ve gone to a trans person.

An obituary for Gill after his death in 2003 noted that he “insisted that she was a man and [told] everyone she wanted to be known as ‘Mr. Gill.’”

In response, a spokesperson for the actress told Bustle, “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman‘s reps for comment,” referencing the three actors’ work as trans characters in Transparent, Dallas Buyers Club and Transamerica.

Rub & Tug is expected to start production in February next year.

Last year, a group of trans and gender diverse actors teamed with GLAAD to film a video letter asking for better trans representation in film.

“Dear Hollywood: You have the power to educate, to change minds, shape public opinion, and open hearts. So we need you to show us as we really are. Tell our stories with the creativity, dignity, humor and depth that make us real people,” the actors said.

“Let us help you tell those stories. Or better yet, help us tell them ourselves, and then put us in them. And in everything else. In all kinds of parts.

“Yes, you’ll be giving us a job, and thank you for that. But you’ll also be making the world a little bit safer for an intensely maligned, underrepresented, and vulnerable population. Hollywood, we’re here and we’re so ready.”