Upon news of Scarlett Johansson‘s casting as a trans man in the new film Rub & Tug, the Twittersphere blew up in an outcry of anger. Many of the loudest and most on-point criticisms of the tone-deaf decision came from trans notables.
A few of them actors and actresses, these leaders of the trans community have a firsthand understanding of the obstacles trans people have to overcome in Hollywood. Even in 2018, Scarlett Johansson’s casting shows we still have a long way to go.
Here are 10 trans notables who have reacted to Scarlett Johansson’s casting in Rub & Tug:
1. Patti Harrison, comedian
“I do not think Scarlett Johansson is an evil person or has ill-intent, but I do feel that if she doesn’t start hiring some career consultants moving forward, we are 100% going to see her play Nelson Mandela in a biopic.
“I do hate these situations because Scarlett will get shit more than like the casting ppl. Who is this fucking director and who is doing the casting on these movies? What are their names? Why aren’t they hiring consultants on this shit?
“If ur working on a film/show w/ a character written as trans, gay, nonwhite etc. but no writers in the room are trans, gay, nonwhite etc. HIRE CONSULTANTS or better yet WRITERS who are & can authentically speak on it so we dont reach critical mass of Bella Hadid playing a geisha.”
2. Ian Harvie, actor
“What does CIS WHITE FEMALE PRIVILEGE look like? #ScarlettJohansson doesn’t feel the need to answer for herself — she redirects her public to other industry people who got it wrong but “won awards.” Is she also enough of an ass to assume that she will win an award?”
3. Indya Moore, actress
“When cis women play trans men, you are reducing the existential experience of a trans man as playing dress up. Cis people cannot tell trans stories — don’t have the range. If they did, they would empathize with the reality of how problematic, dismissive and fetishizing this is.
“This is no different than able-bodied people playing folk with disabilities and winning awards for it. How do you tell a story of a gender-variant human without involving trans people? Our experience is far too large & complex to be limited within the confines of the cis imagination. #how
“Ya’ll fetishizing the trans experience by making this film. You can’t create projects about the experience of trans people without using trans people because you are delegitimizing trans peoples’ respect as men and women.”
4. Ashlee Marie Preston, activist
“The reason directors, producers and casting agencies still aren’t casting real trans people for trans roles in movies (film) & television is because they don’t see transgender identity as real. We’re seen as mythological caricatures….”
5. Jamie Clayton, actress
“Actors who are trans never even get to audition FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN ROLES OF TRANS CHARACTERS. THATS THE REAL ISSUE. WE CANT EVEN GET IN THE ROOM. Cast actors WHO ARE TRANS as NON TRANS CHARACTERS. I DARE YOU. #RupertSanders @NewRegency #ScarlettJohansson”
6. Jen Richards, writer
“Anyone who shouts any variation of “It’s called acting!” is successfully proving one thing: They are so entitled/arrogant/dumb/naive that they believe their knee-jerk reaction to this issue is more valuable than the lived experience & systemic critiques of an entire community.
“Like, imagine a room full of trained, experienced electrical engineers who have spent years working on the wiring in a dark room and then having a random person who knows nothing about the situation walk in and loudly proclaim, ‘Just flip the switch on!’ Don’t be that idiot.”
7. Alexandra Grey, actress
“We should totally do a roundtable discussion with [the entertainment industry publication, The Hollywood Reporter (THR)]. We need to reach all those execs, studios, showrunners and networks who will see it and who have the power to make some moves and really help shift the industry in a more inclusive & diverse direction. Let’s do it! #THR”
8. Trace Lysette, actress
“Oh word?? So you can continue to play us but we can’t play y’all? Hollywood is so fucked… I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis roles, but we know that’s not the case. A mess.
“And not only do you play us and steal our narrative and our opportunity but you pat yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived… so twisted. I’m so done….”
9. Buck Angel, porn icon
“‘Given the ongoing issue of the lack of adequate representation of trans actors and filmmakers, Johansson’s move to take the part is being widely criticized.’ But I think it’s awesome they are making #films about our history! I always like to try and find the positive side of the story. #love #transman #sex #rubandtug #transgender #transexxual #buckangel #buck”
10. Peppermint, drag star and actress
“It’s not about her. It’s that we are never included. Stories and roles are being created about us and we’re never ASKED. Give trans actors a chance. Black actors experienced this 100 years ago. Yes, she’s talented. But SO ARE WE. Don’t try it boo.”