Scarlett Johansson Drops Out of 'Rub & Tug' Transgender Role After Online Backlash
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"I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues," the actress said in her statement.

Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of the movie "Rub & Tug," after she caught serious flack for her casting as a transgender man.

The actress was set to play the role of Dante Tex Gill, a real life trans man who was designated female at birth. There was immediate backlash -- especially from the LGBTQ+ community -- since the cisgendered actress would be playing the role.

Amid the uproar and a problematic first statement defending the project, the "Avengers: Infinity War" star released a new statement Friday announcing she was stepping away from it entirely.

"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," she said 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."

"I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues."

Read the full statement below.

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. 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 inclusivity in Hollywood continues. According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release. 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, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film. I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.

Johansson's first reaction to the backlash, which she released to Bustle.com, referred detractors to "Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment." All three won awards for playing trans roles in the past.

"Rub & Tug" would have been ScarJo's second collaboration with director Rupert Sanders, whom she worked with on "Ghost in the Shell." The 2017 drama received similar backlash with Johansson's casting. Based on a Japanese manga series, it was accused of whitewashing and subsequently flopped at the box office.

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