Rub and Tug is an upcoming film about Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender crime lord who lived a fast and intense life in various illegal trades. This hard and tough trans man was originally announced to be played by cisgender actress Scarlett Johansson.
Many transgender people spoke out about their anger towards the casting of Johansson, who later responded with what many saw as a rude and dismissive response on Bustle.
“Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” Johansson wrote.
This upset many people in the trans community, especially due to the actors and actresses she named. These were all cisgender celebrities who have played transgender characters and were also called out for their actions. Many people felt like the response from Johansson was cold and ignorant with the actress behaving as if these other actors ‘got away with it’ without the public being upset.
“I think it’s demeaning and hurts trans people in the long run,” said Grayson Kelly, a trans teen from Sacramento. “By hiring a cis woman to play a trans man, it makes cis people think we’re just “playing dress up” and that we’re still actually our assigned gender at birth. I hate seeing all those interviews about how ‘hard’ it was for her to play a trans man like there were when Hilary Swank played Brandon Teena in ‘Boys Don’t Cry,’ as well as many other examples of this happening.”
Johansson has since dropped out of the movie role after the intense backlash. Not much is known about what is to happen next for the Rub and Tug film.