The 'Avengers' star had a chance to stand up to politically correct bullies. She chose against it.
The Woke Police pulled superstar Scarlett Johansson over last year, forcing her to grovel for forgiveness.
The crime? Accepting a role social justice types insisted should go to a trans performer.
The actress, via her production company, prepared to star in the film “Rub & Tug.” The true story followed Dante “Tex” Gill, who ran a massage parlor in Pittsburgh that doubled as a prostitution ring.
Johansson initially held her ground about the casting matter. That didn’t last long.
Just days after the “controversy” erupted, Hollywood’s highest paid actress bowed out. She did so with a statement bearing the chilling quality of a ransom note.
“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,” Johansson told Out Magazine, which first reported the news, in a statement. “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. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues. According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release.”
Translation: Please don’t send me any more angry Tweets.
And that seemed like the end of the matter. Superstar bows to PC pressure, movie project stalls sans superstar in lead role. The latter part matters, but it quickly got lost in the media kerfuffle.
Only Johansson brought up the issue again almost exactly one year later. Her new interview in As If Magazine mentioned casting issues within the industry. Her response certainly felt like a long-delayed frustration over what she went through last year.
“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,” Johansson was quoted as saying. “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.”
The usual suspects howled over the quote. The far-left IndieWire.com called the comments “bizarre.”
Once again, mere hours after the interview hit the news cycle, Johansson began her second round of backpedaling. Her team sent Entertainment Weekly another ransom note style statement to stave off the PC Police once more. Team ScarJo argued the conversation was taken out of context for clicks. That wasn’t all the statement revealed:
“The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art,” she continues. “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.”
She wants to have it both ways.
She accepts some of the most substantial roles in Hollywood, like playing Black Widow in multiple MCU films. Yet she also wants to speak fluent Hollywood-ese, where white “cis-gendered” actors get too many breaks.
She happens to be both white and cis-gendered, for the record.
If she really believed what she was forced to say, why doesn’t she bow out of the Black Widow role and insist a woman of color get the gig? The MCU previously changed the race of both Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and few if any, complained.
FAST FACT: Scarlett Johansson earned $40.5 million in 2018, making her the industry’s highest paid actress.
It’s worth acknowledging that Hollywood has done a lousy job when it comes to hiring practices. Actresses over 40 see their gigs dry up dramatically. People of color direct far fewer movies than white males. Women often lack the power to make decisions behind the scenes.
The answer isn’t affirmative action-style policies or virtue signaling. Progress will come when the powers that be start accepting people for their talents, not their gender or physical characteristics.
More importantly, if the industry’s most powerful female star can’t stand up to the PC scolds, what chance do her peers have in doing the same? Actors don’t dare step out of line when it comes to woke groupthink. Yet some of these very same stars have no problem insulting roughly half the country with their political rhetoric.
For clarity’s sake, your average actor will not alienate the social justice mob, which represents a shockingly small number of Americans. That same star may aggressively insult, taunt or simply tell conservative audiences, who number in the millions, not to view their work.
Just ask Samuel L. Jackson.
“I know how many motherf****s hate me,” Jackson recently told Esquire about not fearing fan reactions to his Trump criticisms. “‘I’m never going to see a Sam Jackson movie again.’ F*** I care? If you never went to another movie I did in my life, I’m not going to lose any money. I already cashed that check. F*** you. Burn up my videotapes. I don’t give a f***.”
To be fair, that sounds nothing like a ransom note.