“An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context,” Johansson said in a statement.
Scarlett Johansson said comments she made in an interview last week regarding the roles she should be allowed to play were taken out of context and “edited for click bait.”
In an interview with As If magazine published last week, Johansson said that as an actor, she “should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.”
Her response was swiftly criticized online; the actor has faced previous controversies surrounding her casting in roles portraying nonwhite and nonbinary characters.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News on Monday, the actor clarified her comments, saying she was having a conversation with the artist David Salle 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,” she said in a statement. “That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way.”
The actor said she recognized her industry “favors Caucasian, cis gendered actors” and that “not every actor has been given the same opportunities that [she has] been privileged to.”
Johansson said she has always supported “diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included.”
Johansson’s As If interview echoed the actor’s growing history of controversies regarding representation and inclusion in Hollywood.
In 2017 after the first images of Johansson in Ghost in the Shell were released, the actor was criticized for playing the lead in a movie based on a popular Japanese manga.
The following year, after widespread criticism, including from trans actors Trace Lysette and Jamie Clayton, Johansson withdrew from playing the role of Dante “Tex” Gill, a trans man, in a film called Rub & Tug.
Amid the backlash in 2018, the actor’s publicist said: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”
Tambor (Transparent), Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), and Huffman (Transamerica) have all played trans actors, and they all received critical acclaim for their performances.
Johansson’s decisions to play the roles of marginalized people has been the source of many memes.
You can read Johansson’s complete statement regarding the latest backlash below:
An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context. 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. 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.