"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," begins Johansson's statement to Out Magazine. "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."
Johansson goes on to write, "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. I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly."
Johansson's statement comes shortly after Gill's cousin, Barry Paris, gave an interview on the controversial casting.
"I’d say it’s a toss-up, but I think it’s slightly more likely he would have liked to be played by a man because he identified as a man," said Paris to TheWrap. “I’m sure he would have liked to have been played by a transgender man, but in his day that was very rare.”
The Avengers: Infinity War actress also dropped some statistics (via GLAAD) including how there were 40 percent less LGBTQ characters in 2017 than in 2016 and there has yet to be a trans character "in any major studio release."
As many trans activists, including Sense8's Jamie Clayton, have pointed out, trans actors rarely get to play non-trans characters and when cisgender actors take those few roles, it leaves little to no work for trans actors in the industry.
Johansson's latest statement is a complete turnaround from her previous one, when the news was announced a little over a week ago. Through her rep, she told naysayers to "be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment," referring to three people who've played transgender characters and have also been criticized for their roles. The latest backlash came after Johansson was heavily criticized for taking on the role of Major in Ghost in the Shell, who was a Japanese woman in the original anime film. Now it seems Johansson is learning from past mistakes. In the meantime, she's got plenty of other projects on her plate, including a Black Widow standalone film.