Star’s comments spark furious backlash
Scarlett Johansson has sparked a furious backlash online after saying she should be able to play "any person or any tree or any animal".
Johansson has previously come under fire for playing a traditionally Japanese character in 2017's Ghost in the Shell and last year had to drop out of playing a transgender character in Rub & Tug.
In an interview with AS IF Magazine, Johansson argued "art should be free of restrictions".
"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," she said.
"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."
Some advice from me to Scarlett Johansson. pic.twitter.com/e5hwveEs8n— Ophelia Brown (@opheliajcbrown) July 14, 2019
Scarlett Johansson is right. She should be allowed to play any role. But until marginalized people get equal representation and access to the opportunities she NOW enjoys, this is pretty low on the priority list and it’s sentiment’s meaning empty and mostly moot https://t.co/0PDyYtCTBk— Exavier Pope (@exavierpope) July 13, 2019
Scarlett Johansson: I can play anything I want. Actors can play anything they want.— Delaney King 🤖✍ (@delaneykingrox) July 15, 2019
White cis men: yeah!
Female POC: I am Bond, J...
White cis men: not like that
I will not be seeing any films that involve Scarlett Johansson moving forward. I do not want to give my money to someone who trivializes the oppression of trans people and diminishes the importance of our visibility.— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) July 13, 2019
Meanwhile, others just saw the funny side in the actress, claiming she should be able to play "any tree" she wanted:
y’all i’m shocked... i didn’t know scarlett johansson was in prisoner of azkaban pic.twitter.com/1qvpqSreVq— emily (@pctterdiaries) July 14, 2019
I’ve been on edge for two days. How can I walk outside without fear knowing that any one of these trees could really be Scarlett Johansson— [crying in spanish] (@SortaBad) July 15, 2019
Honestly, and I know this isn't the point, but there are several trees I don't think Scarlett Johansson could play convincingly.— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) July 15, 2019
Johansson later issued a statement addressing the controversy, claiming her words had been misrepresented for "clickbait".
"An interview that was recently published has been edited for clickbait and is widely taken out of context," she said.
"The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art. 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."
She added: "I recognise that in reality, there is a widespread discrepancy amongst my industry that favours 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."