Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of Rub & Tug, the movie that would have seen her play a transgender man.
"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," said Johansson in a statement to Out.com.
"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," the actress continued. "I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues."
Rub & Tug tells the story of Jean Marie Gill, who was assigned female at birth but who assumed the identity of a man, Dante “Tex” Gill, and operated a massage parlor and prostitution business in Pittsburgh in the 1970s and '80s. While it is unclear how Gill, who died in 2003, identified, an obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes that he ran his parlors while "insisting that she was a man and telling everyone she wanted to be known as 'Mr. Gill.'"
When the project was announced on July 2, along with Johansson's casting, there was an immediate online backlash. The majority of commenters argued that the role should have gone to a trans performer.
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