After facing massive backlash for landing a role of a trans man in the forthcoming film Rub & Tug, actress Scarlett Johansson backed out from the film. Transgender actors in Hollywood raised their voice against her decision.

The 33-year-old actress was supposed to star in Rupert Sanders-directed mob drama, in which she was to portray Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender man who owns a Pittsburgh massage parlour. But has now decided to quit the role.

Also read: Rub & Tug controversy: Scarlett Johansson role inflames Trans actors

In a statement published on, Johansson said, “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.”

“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,” she added.

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Earlier, Johansson was criticised for playing an originally Asian animated character, The Major, in the live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. It was also directed by Sanders.

-With IANS inputs