Scarlett Johansson’s comments in the latest issue of As/If magazine have landed the actor in hot water, with the Marvel star now trying to clarify what she says was a quote taken out of context. Johansson appears on the cover of the magazine and is interviewed by artist David Salle and alluded to the casting controversy surrounding her role in the film Rub & Tug, where she was cast to play a transgender character, and 2017’s Ghost In The Shell, wherein Johansson took on the lead role in the Japanese manga adaptation of the same name to much backlash.
Speaking to Salle, Johansson said “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.” Though she didn’t mention the film by name, the Rub & Tug fallout was clearly still on her mind and her resentment about so-called “political correctness.”
“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.”
Now Johansson is once again feeling the heat, this time with readers upset that the actor has seemingly continued to be dismissive of her position of privilege. Johansson issued a statement on Sunday in an attempt to clarify her comments in As/If, telling EW that the interview “has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context.”
“The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art,” her statement to EW reads. “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.”
As/If magazine has since released the entire transcript of Johansson’s interview with Salle though that, coupled with Johansson’s latest comments, have done little to appease her critics. Many felt that Johansson was simply doubling down on her first comment without fully comprehend her position of privilege in Hollywood, and the struggle for trans actors and actors of colour to have a fair shot at leading roles. Others pointed out that this wasn’t first time she’d made such statements and weren’t prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Having deja vu rn https://t.co/NAuADJpRRd
— Trace Lysette (@tracelysette) July 14, 2019
ScarJo is the highest paid female actor in 2018, banking $40.5 mil. But she feels entitled to take roles away from Asian, Trans & other underrepresented actors? https://t.co/vB0g2SlatA
— Nancy Wang Yuen (@nancywyuen) July 13, 2019
Sounds like she was quoted accurately. She just doesn’t like the reaction
— Julie Banks (@julesmbanks) July 15, 2019
ah that always great moment when white cis actors reduce your cultural/racial/sexual/gender identity to a political object and separate it from the people affected till you’re just a symptom of ‘political correctness’ :)))
— smol tae 🏳️🌈 (@squishytaeby) July 14, 2019