Scarlett Johansson responds to outrage over transgender role in ‘Rub & Tug’

Scarlett Johansson is at the centre of more controversy over her role choice having accepted the opportunity to play massage parlour owner Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in the upcoming drama Rub & Tug.

The film, which is based on the true-life story of Jean Marie Gill who in later years became Dante ‘Tex’ Gill, was the head of a Pittsburgh massage parlour and prostitution operation throughout ’70s and ‘80s.

Gill identified as a man throughout his life, which is the detail in the role that has sparked a considerable backlash.

To give more context, Johansson has teamed up with director Rupert Sanders for the second time in her career. The first, the pair made controversial film Ghost In The Shell, an adaptation of iconic Japanese manga to which the actress was accused of whitewashing. Now, it seems, the same arguments have arisen.

April Reign, who is best known for the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, tweeted about the news: “Scarlett Johansson received considerable backlash for Ghost in the Shell, when she played a whitewashed Asian character. The movie tanked. Undeterred, she has teamed up WITH THE SAME DIRECTOR to play a trans male character in Rub & Tug.”

In her tweet, Reign included a statement from Johansson via her management that was featured on Bustle which addressed the backlash — in her own special way. She said: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”

Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content