Scarlett Johansson, Hollywood’s highest-paid actress, has issued a statement regarding comments she made about the backlash over her being cast in minority roles. After the quote was met with criticism online, a representative for Johannson sent ComicBook.com and other outlets a statement from the actress clarifying her comments and saying they were taken out of context.
“An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context,” Johansson says in the statement. “The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art. I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. That is the point I was making, albeit didn't come across that way. I recognize that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cis gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to. I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included."
The original comments come from an interview in AS IF Magazine. In the excerpted portion of the interview, Johansson is quoted as saying, “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job. I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions. I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do.”
The actor came under fire for playing the lead role in the live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell. She received similar criticism after being cast in the role of transgender male Dante “Tex” Gill in the film Rub & Tug.
While Johansson stuck with her Ghost in the Shell role, the backlash to Johansson’s casting in Rub & Tug was strong enough that she dropped out of the role in July 2018. She said at the time, "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. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusively in Hollywood continues."
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