Home / Gossip-VIP / Scarlett Johansson is one of Hollywood’s most problematic women
Scarlett Johansson is one of Hollywood's most problematic women

Scarlett Johansson is one of Hollywood’s most problematic women

Scarlett Johansson is a bonafide movie star. The perfect blend of box office gold with an indie director’s dream that can headline a comic book smash (Avengers: Endgame), star in a satirical film about Hitler (Jojo Rabbit) and start Oscar rumours (Marriage Story) in one year.

The 34-year-old is the highest paid actress in the world. She is a pin-up for a generation, being compared to old Hollywood bombshells with her ownership over her Botticelli sex appeal. She has risen to cult status with Ghost World and Lost In Translation and landed her own solo MCU movie as Black Widow.

She also is one of the most problematic women in Hollywood.

As an avid fan of Scarlett, I simultaneously count down the days to the release of her movies and dread them as they mean another press tour. In the past year, ScarJo has come out with so many face-palming quotes that she’s meme-ified herself. She’s the star that everyone wants in their movies, but that can also take down a film.

Last year, Scarlett was cast as Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in the drama Rub Tug. Jean Marie Gill was assigned female at birth, but assumed the identity of a man with the name Dante ‘Tex’ Gill while running a massage parlour and sex work business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1970s and 80s.

It was never confirmed that Gill identified as trans, but in an obituary run by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, according to the Hollywood Reporter, they wrote that Gill wanted to be known as Mr. Gill, and that ‘she may even have undergone the initial states of a sex change that made her appear masculine’.

The actress was initially cast as a trans man (Picture: Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

This casting came a year after Scarlett took the lead role in Ghost In The Shell, a character who was originally Japanese in the original manga series.

Now, Scarlett being cast isn’t entirely her fault – Hollywood isn’t exactly diverse in its casting, and casting directors were the ones who wanted a white, cisgender superstar to play an Asian character and a trans man respectively. But her response was.

First off, her rep displaced the outrage to other cis actors who had played trans characters, saying: ‘Tell them they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.’

Then, speaking to David Salle for As If, Scarlett said: ‘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.

‘I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it ne 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.’

The actress did later acknowledge that 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’ (duh), but maintained that ‘any actor should be able to play anybody’.

Scarlett is the highest paid actress in Hollywood (Picture: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock)

After memes about her playing every tree in movie history, Johansson withdrew from Rub Tug, saying: ‘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.’

You would think that after two high profile casting dramas, Scarlett would be more aware of her words as one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. But no such luck. This week, in an in-depth interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Scarlett was asked about her feelings towards three time collaborator Woody Allen. In the past two years, multiple actors including Timothee Chalamet, Greta Gerwig, Rebecca Hall and Selena Gomez have shown their regret at working with Allen – who has been accused of molesting Mia Farrow’s daughter Dylan as a child, allegations he has strongly denied – and donated salaries for starring in his films to Time’s Up and RAINN (Rape, Abuse Incest National Network).

‘How do I feel about Woody Allen? I love Woody,’ Scarlett said. ‘I believe him, and I would work with him anytime.

‘I see Woody whenever I can, and I have had a lot of conversations with him about it. I have been very direct with him, and he’s very direct with me. He maintains his innocence, and I believe him.’

In a major example of tone-deafness, Scarlett then went on to discuss her involvement in Time’s Up, saying: ‘It was when I first understood what the word ‘triggering’ actually meant. Now it’s part of the zeitgeist, but it was like, “Oh. Oh, the thing I’m feeling. That’s what triggering means.’ I didn’t know. Suddenly, you didn’t have to take it anymore”.’

The Woody Allen situation is obviously a difficult one for many. As previously mentioned, he has denied the allegations repeatedly and strenuously, his work still has a huge fanbase, and he still has a loyal circle of collaborators. But for Scarlett to firmly stand on his team, before going on to sing of their support of Time’s Up – and having previously called out James Franco in public over allegations of sexual misconduct, which Franco has also denied – just doesn’t sit right.

Scarlett has starred in three Woody Allen films (Picture: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

There is no doubt that Scarlett has faced her own obstacles in Hollywood. She has lost movie roles due to her looks, and has been objectified at every turn. Naked pictures of her were hacked in 2011 in the major iCloud hack and circulated online. Scarlett is one of the celebrities used most in ‘deepfake’ porn, with her face superimposed into disturbingly realistic pornography, and legally there’s not much she can do about it.

None of these struggles should be belittled, and Scarlett has been vocal in women’s rights issues. But when you are blind to the struggles of others, this is where the problematic label comes in.

Not everyone is born super-woke; it’s a process and a learning curve and everyone makes mistake. But to keep doubling down on them is more than just a naive error, it’s careless. After hearing the concerns over Ghost In The Shell, Scarlett went on to accept a trans man’s role. She then argued that she should be able to play anyone. She then acknowledged that this might be a bit insensitive but that she still believes it. Then she steps down from the role. Three opportunities to make a difference until it actually happens. And then a year on, she picks and chooses who to believe in #MeToo.

More: Marvel

Russo Brothers tease what could ‘attract’ them back to Marvel

Disney’s move to Pinewood Studios will be major ‘threat’ for BBC and ITV

Russo brothers ‘not devastated or surprised’ Spider-Man is leaving MCU

Angelina Jolie crashes kids’ martial arts class to train for Marvel’s Eternals role

Much like Lena Dunham putting out a statement saying that while she believes all women, she didn’t believe one particular woman because the allegations were levelled at her friend, Scarlett’s quotes on Woody Allen suggest that she is all for empowerment, diversity and women until it benefits her not to be. Hollywood is a very difficult place for any woman to make a living. But it’s even worse for a black woman, an Asian woman, a queer woman, a transgender woman or a transgender man. As a white, cisgender, beautiful, bankable actor, Scarlett should be using all that power to lift others up with her – and that doesn’t just apply to the choice few that are convenient.

Scarlett is one of the most talented women in Hollywood and her exceptional and varied back catalogue proves her ascent to the top paid actress in the industry is deserved. But if she continues the way she’s going, her legacy won’t be indie classics and comic book blockbusters, but the persona of a woman who believed her privilege shouldn’t be a barrier to every role she wants.

MORE: Liam Gallagher admits his ‘feelings were hurt’ when Noel’s wife Sara MacDonald called him ‘fat’

MORE: I’ve written the LGBT+ children’s book I wish I had and I want it in every school

MORE: Lana Del Rey is the ultimate sad girl and I never want her to change