Without a doubt, Scarlett Johansson is one of the most popular, and most acclaimed, actresses in the world today. Not only is she getting awards season buzz thanks to roles in both “Jojo Rabbit” and “Marriage Story,” but the actress also portrays one of the most popular superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with her first “Black Widow” solo film coming in May. This would typically mean that everything is rosy in the land of Johansson. But after recent controversial statements, that’s not the case.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Johansson was once again confronted with questions about her stances regarding inclusivity and representation, specifically in relation to the film “Rub & Tug,” as well as her unyielding defense of Woody Allen. This time, Johansson attempted to clarify both statements and stances once and for all.
For those that don’t remember, Johansson first came under fire when it was announced that she would be portraying a trans man in the film “Rub & Tug,” based on a true story. The actress initially defended her role, saying at the time, “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 would later attempt to clarify, but still, fans were uneasy by her original, tone-deaf comments. In the new interview, she goes a bit further and admits she was wrong.
“In hindsight, I mishandled that situation,” admitted Johansson. “I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it. I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing—and how they felt in general about cis actors playing—transgender people. I wasn’t aware of that conversation—I was uneducated.”
She continued, “So I learned a lot through that process. I misjudged that…. It was a hard time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling.”
It wasn’t just the “Rub & Tug” situation that put Johansson in hot water recently. She also gained headlines for her response to the recent #MeToo controversy surrounding her collaborator/friend Woody Allen. The filmmaker has found himself effectively blacklisted after sexual assault allegations against a minor resurfaced in light of the #MeToo movement. At the time, Johansson defended Allen. And she continues to do so.
The actress said in the new interview that she is speaking about the situation, not as an expert, but as a friend of Allen’s. “But I have no other insight other than my relationship with him,” she explained.
She was then prompted with the rebuttal that the defense of Allen does sound a bit like she doesn’t believe the victim and thus is part of the issue that has plagued women for decades, with people automatically believing the alleged perpetrator.
“I do understand how that is triggering for some people,” the actress said. “But just because I believe my friend does not mean that I don’t support women, believe women. I think you have to take it on a case-by-case basis. You can’t have this blanket statement—I don’t believe that. But that’s my personal belief. That’s how I feel.”
At this point, it definitely feels as if Johansson has said everything she can about both controversial topics. She’s changing her stance in regards to representation and inclusivity, but also is still defending Woody Allen. In a world that definitely lacks nuance, it’ll be interesting to see how these stances affect her perception among film fans.